Peru president will seek to move up elections amid violent protests
Peru’s newest president, Dina Boluarte, gave in to protesters’ demands early Monday, announcing in a nationally televised address that she would send Congress a proposal to move forward. election practice.
boluarteThe decision was made after thousands of protesters took to the streets around Peru for another date on Sunday to demand her resignation and schedule elections to replace her and Congress. The Demonstration dangerous, with at least two deaths reported in a remote community in the Andes, according to officials.
Boluarte said she would propose a schedule for a general election in April 2024. That marks a reversal because she has previously said she should be allowed to hold office for the remaining three-and-a-half years of her term. predecessor’s period.
“My duty as president of the republic in these difficult times is to interpret, read and gather the aspirations, interests and concerns, if not all, of the populace. the majority of Peruvians,” Boluarte said. “Therefore, interpreting in the broadest way the will of the people… I have decided to actively reach an agreement with the parliament of the republic to hold a general election.”
Many of the protesters during the ongoing political crisis are demanding the release of Pedro Castillo, the centre-left president ousted by lawmakers on Wednesday after he sought to dissolve Parliament. before an impeachment vote.
The protests that rocked Peru have heated up especially in the countryside, the stronghold of Castillo, a former teacher and political newcomer from a poor Andean mountainous district. Protesters set fire to a police station, vandalized a small airport used by the armed forces and marched in the streets.
Congresswoman Maria Taipe Coronado said a 15-year-old boy had died of his injuries during a protest in the remote Andahuaylas community of the Andes as she issued an urgent plea from the legislative palace demanding Boluarte’s resignation. .
“The death of this countryman is Dina’s responsibility for not submitting her resignation,” said Taipe, whose affiliation with the party that helped Castillo and Boluarte win last year as president and vice president before both were fired and charged. of that party. “Since when is protest a crime?”
Taipe alleges that the authorities are using heavy-handed repressive tactics to quell the protests. But it remains unclear how badly the boy was injured, and state media reported a second death in the same community without giving details.
Anthony Gutiérrez, the director of a local hospital, told a radio station that the second protester killed was an 18-year-old man. At least 26 people were also reported injured.
Hundreds of people also protested in the capital, Lima, where riot police used tear gas to push back protesters.
Boluarte, in his address to the nation, declared a state of emergency in areas outside Lima, where the protests have been particularly violent.
Boluarte, 60, was quickly sworn in midweek to replace Castillo, hours after he stunned the nation by ordering the dissolution of the National Assembly, thereby removing him for his “religious incompetence.” eternal virtue”. Castillo was arrested on crime of rebellion.
Castillo’s failed move against the opposition-led Congress comes hours before lawmakers are set to begin a third impeachment effort against him.
Scattered protests across the country continued for days. Protesters have also set up barricades, trapping people for hours.
On Saturday in Andahuaylas, 16 people were treated for concussions at the hospital, and one was reported in serious condition.
Boluarte has called for a time of national unity to heal the latest upheaval. But many of Castillo’s supporters have called her a “traitor.”
“No Peruvian life deserves to be sacrificed for political gain,” Boluarte tweeted hours before her speech to the nation. “I express my condolences on the death of a citizen in Andahuaylas. I reiterate my call for dialogue and an end to violence.”
Meanwhile, in Lima, hundreds of people gathered outside the legislative building on Sunday. Dozens of police in riot gear used tear gas against those gathered, while just inside the building, lawmakers were starting their session. Police also chased and beat protesters as they fled the scene amid clouds of gas.
Peru has had six presidents in the past six years, including three in just one week in 2020 when Congress flexes its impeachment powers.
The domestic power struggle continues as the Andes and its thousands of small farms struggle to survive the worst drought in half a century. The country of more than 33 million people is also experiencing its fifth wave of COVID-19 infections – having recorded about 4.3 million infections and 217,000 deaths since the pandemic began.