Peru’s President Pedro Castillo is impeached following attempts to dissolve Congress
Castillo is detained by Peruvian police in Lima. Vice President Dina Boluarte will take over as president
Peru’s President Pedro Castillo attempted in vain to dissolve the nation’s Congress on Wednesday and made a call for new legislative elections. Congress rejected Castillo’s decrees and voted to replace him with Vice President Dina Boluarte.
Before his impeachment, Castillo made a television address during which he announced he would rule by decree and implement a nightly curfew starting on Wednesday. The former president also said he would make changes to judiciary, police and constitutional court.
“We have taken the decision to establish an emergency government, to reestablish the rule of law and democracy,’’ Castillo said, and that elections would be held for a new Congress “with the ability to draft a new Constitution” per The New York Times.
Castillo’s announcement was immediately criticized — soon after it was made, a large portion of Castillo’s government resigned. And Peru’s armed forces and police issued a joint statement claiming that Castillo’s plans were outside his legal bounds and that they would not support him.
Boluarte called out Castillo on Twitter before his impeachment. “I reject Pedro Castillo’s decision to perpetrate the breakdown of the constitutional order with the closure of Congress. It is a coup that aggravates the political and institutional crisis that Peruvian society will have to overcome with strict adherence to the law,” Boluarte wrote, per NPR.
The Ombudsman’s Office, an autonomous government institution, called on Castillo to resign and turn himself in. In a statement the institution said Castillo’s actions led to a constitutional collapse “that can’t be called anything but a coup” per NPR.
“Mr. Castillo must remember that he was not only elected president of the republic, but also that the people elected representatives for public service,” the statement said, per NPR. “Castillo’s actions ignore the will of the people and are invalid.”
The U.S. Embassy in Lima also spoke out against Castillo. “The United States emphatically urges President Castillo to reverse his attempt to close Congress and allow democratic institutions in Peru to work according to the constitution,” the Embassy wrote in a tweet, per The New York Times.
Pedro Castillo’s Presidency
Castillo was elected as the Peruvian president in July 2021. Since he took office, Castillo has faced multiple allegations and investigations which he claims are “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” per NPR.
He has rejected all claims made against him, and believes the investigations are part of a witch hunt against him by officials who do not support his position in office. Castillo said that a certain sector of the Peruvian congress “has as its only agenda item removing me from office because they never accepted the results of an election that you, my dear Peruvians, determined with your votes,” reports NPR.
The former farmer, school teacher and union activist admits his inexperience in his role, but retains that he “has never committed a crime” reported The New York Times.
He currently faces five preliminary criminal investigations. Prosecutors claim Castillo led a “criminal network” which interfered with public institutions for personal profit, per CNN.
According to NPR, Castillo promised to raise taxes on mining, fight corruption, rewrite the constitution and go after monopolies that have allegedly raised prices on natural gas and medicine. Most of his promises have not been successful because he does not have the congressional support he needs to accomplish them.
“My daughter, my wife, my entire family have been attacked with the only purpose of destroying me because they don’t want me to finish my term, I promise you I will finish my term, I’m not corrupted,” Castillo said on television in October, per CNN.