LIMA, PERU — ALBERTO FUJIMORI, who has assumed near-dictatorial power over Peru, says his government will hold two referendums and elections for a new Congress within a year.
"We are not destroying democracy. We are clearing the path to construct a more modern structure," President Fujimori said in a 30-minute address to the nation late Tuesday.
Fujimori said he would call a plebiscite for July 5 to seek approval for his April 5 decision to dissolve Congress and reorganize the courts, which he has said were obstructions to reform.
He said proposed reforms to the Constitution would be published Aug. 31 and put to a popular vote during previously planned municipal and regional government elections on Nov. 8. A new parliament would be elected on Feb. 28 of next year and installed April 5.
Fujimori made no reference to this week's resignation of Economy Minister Carlos Bolona Behr, who helped Peru regain credibility in international financial circles after years of isolation.
Before his speech, Fujimori met for an hour in the Government Palace with an Organization of American States delegation sent to seek a quick way out of the crisis.
In a principally symbolic gesture of opposition, Vice President Maximo San Roman Tuesday took the oath as president before about 200 members of the dissolved Congress. Mr. San Roman has condemned Fujimori's April 5 action as a "coup d'etat."