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The American Nobel Prize winner, Douglas North, argued that institutionality is the main factor that affects the ability of countries to generate development. Without solid institutions that are consistent with the social dynamics of a society, achieving well-being is extremely complex.
In the Peruvian context, the political system is perhaps the one that has most resisted institutional evolution. No more laws are required, but rather generate the spaces for deliberation necessary for consensus and review to be prioritized.
In this sense, promoting in a multiparty way the return to a bicameral system It is an urgent reform that has been on the public agenda practically since the conception of the 1993 Constitution. It is enough to review the Peruvian republican history to see that – with few exceptions – almost all the constitutional texts have contemplated that the Parliament It is divided into two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Senators. Unicameralism has been instrumental in promoting urgent reforms at critical junctures, but it is imperative that the legislative process evolve towards a more institutionalized system.
Why is it necessary to implement the bicamerality? One of the main benefits is that it safeguards the balance of powers. For example, by having an indissoluble Chamber of Senators and a slower vacancy process, the Legislative Power would be given greater strength as the institution that represents the Nation and, therefore, the Rule of Law would be strengthened in the event of a possible threat of an eventual authoritarian president.
Another benefit of bicameralism relates to the composition of the representation. Through a lower house elected through a proportional election system, the deputies will be able to focus on regional problems. For their part, senators – elected by a single electoral district – would have a comprehensive vision of the country, focusing, for example, on the election of senior officials. Thus, through a specific division of functions, the relationship of representation of parliamentarians with the population would be strengthened.
Likewise, a bicameral legislative process will reduce the negative externalities of promoting regulations that are not in accordance with citizen problems. The legislative process, being slower and more thoughtful, will deliver better results. Furthermore, the implementation of this reform is viable while maintaining the same budget as the current Congress and with the impediment of immediate non-reelection for current members of Congress –as has been proposed– to give the project political viability.
Despite the current turbulent situation, the Congress it cannot remain oblivious to the structural reforms that the country needs. With poor political institutions, promoting development in Peru will be impossible. In this sense, it is urgent to promote reforms that promote the proper functioning of political mechanisms. Definitely, the bicamerality will be one of them.
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Bicameral Evolution, by Alejandro Cavero