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Peru court agrees to rule on president accused of acting unlawfully

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Lima (AFP)

Peru's Constitutional Court on Tuesday accepted a request from the opposition to rule on whether President Martin Vizcarra unlawfully dissolved Congress last month.

Vizcarra dissolved the opposition-controlled Congress and called new legislative elections for January, leading Congress speaker Pedro Olaechea to accuse the president of unlawfully seizing power.

The court unanimously voted to accept the request in a closed session, its president Ernesto Blume said, while rejecting Olaechea's request to immediately reopen Congress and cancel the January 26 elections.

The government now has 30 days to present its arguments to the court.

The decision prolongs the political uncertainty in a country that has been torn by recurrent clashes between the executive and legislature.

Once the government has presented its evidence, the court will call a hearing where both sides can argue their case.

The judges will then have 30 days to deliver their verdict, which cannot be appealed.

Vizcarra has repeatedly clashed with Congress, which is dominated by the Popular Force party of Keiko Fujimori, who is herself in pre-trial detention after being accused of accepting $1.2 million in illicit party funding.

The president's anti-graft drive has proven popular with the public in Peru, where the previous four leaders have been investigated for corruption.

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