Thursday 9 February 2023

Peru’s President impeached and arrested!

Peru's President Pedro Castillo replaced by Dina Boluarte after impeachment and arrest after failed 'coup' attempt

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Q24N – Peru’s president, Pedro Castillo, was ousted by Congress and arrested on a charge of rebellion Wednesday after he sought to dissolve the legislative body and take unilateral control of the government, triggering a grave constitutional crisis.

Peru’s former President Pedro Castillo seen inside a police car in Lima

Within hours, Peru had a female president for the first time, Dina Boluarte – previously the vice-president – was sworn in after a dramatic day in Lima on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Castillo had said he was replacing Congress with an “exceptional emergency government”. But legislators ignored this, and in an emergency meeting impeached him. He was then detained and accused of rebellion.

Dina Boluarte said she would govern until 2026
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After lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to remove Castillo from office for reasons of “permanent moral incapacity,” Castillo was driven from the presidential palace and through Lima’s historic downtown.

Reports in local media say he entered a police station and hours later, federal prosecutors announced that Castillo had been arrested on the rebellion charge for allegedly violating constitutional order.

Other reports say he was heading to the Mexican embassy in the capital when he was arrested.

Witnesses described small-scale clashes between police and some protesters who had gathered near the station.

Police stand guard outside the Lima Prefecture on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Castillo announced a curfew and said he would form an emergency government that would rule by decree, in an effort to cling to power. (Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images)

Speaking after taking the oath of office, Boluarte, a 60-year-old lawyer, called for a political truce to overcome the crisis which has gripped the country. “What I ask for is a space, a time to rescue the country,” she said.

She also said she would govern until July 2026, which is when Castillo’s presidency would have ended.

Failed coup d’etat

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Wednesday morning in Peru began with President Pedro Castillo giving an address on national television in which he declared a state of emergency.

He announced that he would dissolve the opposition-controlled Congress, a move which was met with shock both in Peru and abroad.  Several ministers resigned immediately in protest.

The head of the Constitutional Court accused him of launching a coup d’etat, while the United States “strongly urged” Castillo to reverse his decision.

A police officer chases protesters outside Lima’s Prefecture on Wednesday, following Castillo’s impeachment. (Alessandro Cinque/Reuters)

In his televised address he said: “In response to citizens’ demands throughout the length and breadth of the country, we have decided to establish an exceptional government aimed at re-establishing the rule of law and democracy.”

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He said that “a new Congress with constituent powers to draw up a new constitution” would be convened “within no more than nine months”.

The result was overwhelming: 101 legislators voted in favor of impeaching him, with only six against and 10 abstentions.

Peru has been going through a rocky political period, with multiple presidents ousted from office in recent years. In 2020, it had three presidents within the space of five days.

There were skirmishes between police and angry Castillo supporters in the capital Lima

Castillo, who is a left-wing former school teacher, was elected in June 2021 in a polarizing election in which he defeated his right-wing rival, Keiko Fujimori.

Castillo had recently been fighting allegations of corruption. He has denied allegations, saying they’re based on “hearsay statements by people who, seeking to lighten their own punishments for supposed crimes by abusing my confidence, are trying to involve me without evidence.”

 

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Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

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