The Northern Advocate

Peru’s president ousted

Castillo arrested, first female leader sworn in to power


The president of Peru was ousted by Congress and arrested on a charge of rebellion yesterday after he sought to dissolve the legislativ­e body and take unilateral control of the government, triggering a grave constituti­onal crisis.

Vice-president Dina Boluarte replaced Pedro Castillo and became the first female leader in the history of the republic after hours of wrangling between the legislatur­e and the departing president, who had tried to prevent an impeachmen­t vote.

Boluarte, a 60-year-old lawyer, called for a political truce and the installati­on of a national unity government. “What I ask for is a space, a time to rescue the country,” she said.

Lawmakers voted 101-6 with 10 abstention­s to remove Castillo from office for reasons of “permanent moral incapacity”.

Hours later federal prosecutor­s announced that Castillo had been arrested on the rebellion charge for allegedly violating constituti­onal order. Witnesses saw some smallscale clashing between police and some protesters who had gathered near the police station where he was being held.

“We condemn the violation of constituti­onal order,” federal prosecutor­s said. Peru’s political constituti­on enshrines the separation of powers and establishe­s that Peru is a democratic and sovereign Republic . . . No authority can put itself above the Constituti­on and must comply with constituti­onal mandates.”

Fluent in Spanish and Quechua, Boluarte was elected as vicepresid­ent on the presidenti­al ticket that brought the centre-left Castillo to power July 28, 2021.

During Castillo’s brief administra­tion, Boluarte was minister of developmen­t and social inclusion.

Shortly before the impeachmen­t vote, Castillo announced that he was installing a new emergency government and would rule by decree. He ordered a nightly curfew starting yesterday. The head of Peru’s army then resigned, along with four ministers, including those over foreign affairs and the economy.

The Ombudsman’s Office, an autonomous government institutio­n, said before the congressio­nal vote that Castillo should turn himself in to judicial authoritie­s.

After years of democracy, Peru is in the midst of a constituti­onal collapse “that can’t be called anything but a coup,” the statement said.

United States Amb. Lisa Kenna called on Castillo via Twitter to reverse his decree to dissolve Congress, saying the US government rejected any “extra-constituti­onal” actions by the president to interfere with Congress.

A short time later the Congress voted to remove Castillo.

Mexico Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said via Twitter that given recent events in Peru, Mexico had decided to postpone the Pacific Alliance summit scheduled for Dec. 14 in Lima. He said he regretted the developmen­ts and called for democracy and human rights to be respected.

The administra­tion of Chilean President Gabriel Boric lamented the political situation in Peru and trusted that the crisis would be resolved through democratic mechanisms. Spain’s government strongly condemned the break in constituti­onal order and congratula­ted the country on righting itself democratic­ally.

Castillo has denied allegation­s of corruption. Federal prosecutor­s are investigat­ing six cases against Castillo, most of them for alleged corruption, under the theory that he had used his power to profit from public works.

 ?? ?? Supporters of former president Pedro Castillo confront riot police.
Supporters of former president Pedro Castillo confront riot police.
 ?? Photos / AP ?? Former vice-president Dina Boluarte was sworn in as president.
Photos / AP Former vice-president Dina Boluarte was sworn in as president.
 ?? ?? Pedro Castillo
Pedro Castillo

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