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Peru’s Congress backs referendum after threat of closure

A television screen in the Napoleon restaurant shows Peru's Prime Minister Cesar Villanueva speaking, right, in the Legislative Palace chamber where lawmakers are debating President Martin Vizcarra's call for a referendum on anti-corruption measures, in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. If Congress refuses to back his plan, Vizcarra will be empowered to dissolve the legislature, something that hasn't happened since the authoritarian government of Alberto Fujimori in 1992. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Facing closure, Peru’s Congress has backed a proposal for a referendum on anti-corruption measures.

The vote late Wednesday by the opposition-dominated Congress represents something of a truce with President Martin Vizcarra, who had threatened to use his constitutional powers to dissolve the house unless it went along with his plan.

Vizcarra has been rallying the public’s support with a promise to clean up politics following the leak of several videos showing judges negotiating bribes with politicians.

Under the deal approved Wednesday, lawmakers gave themselves two weeks to come up with the proposed reforms that will be submitted to voter approval in December.

Vizcarra took over as president in March after Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned amid a vote-buying scandal.

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