(Bloomberg) -- Peruvian lawmakers passed a law that limits the power of President Pedro Castillo to dissolve congress, imposing a defeat on the leftist leader just three months into his government. 

The opposition-dominated legislature approved the proposal that changes a constitutional mechanism known as vote of confidence by 79 votes out of 130. At the same time, they ignored a bill presented by the government that would restrict lawmakers’ ability to impeach the president. 

“This is a great risk for the country because it would mean a dangerous imbalance of powers that would affect our democratic system,” Prime Minister Mirtha Vasquez said before the vote, when introducing the government’s proposal.

Peru’s constitution establishes that the president can dissolve congress if lawmakers twice deny him a vote of confidence. Former President Martin Vizcarra dismissed congress in 2019 using that mechanism. 

Now the president can only ask lawmakers for a vote of confidence on government policies, and no longer on constitutional reforms. On the other hand, congress can still impeach the president on grounds of moral incapacity, a very broad definition that’s caused the ouster or resignation of three presidents over the past 3-1/2 years. 

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