Peru’s President, Facing Impeachment, Says He Will Dissolve Congress

LIMA – The President of Peru on Wednesday announced the dissolution of Congress and the establishment of an emergency government to govern by decree, before a scheduled vote to impeach him to be held by the CongressS.

In a public address, President Pedro Castillo immediately imposed a nationwide curfew and called on all citizens to hand over their guns – a move that political leaders around the world and Constitutional experts were quick to denounce it as a coup attempt.

“We have taken the decision to form an exceptional government, re-establish democracy and the rule of law, for which the following measures have been introduced: temporarily dissolve the National Assembly, form a government within special state of emergency, calling for the shortest possible term until new National Assembly elections with the possibility of drafting a new Constitution,” said Castillo.

Mr. Castillo’s startling statement plunged fragile democracy into its biggest political crisis in years.

The announcement echoes the move of President Alberto Fujimori, who was democratically elected in 1990 and then two years later staged a military-backed coup and ruled as a dictator until year 2000.

Omar Cairo, a constitutional lawyer who considers the impeachment vote illegitimate and sympathizes with Castillo’s views, said, “Congress is still despicable, but what Castillo has done is an obvious coup.”

On Wednesday, Congress was scheduled to vote on a motion to impeach the president, the third such attempt, resulting in his immediate removal from office.

Last month, the Peruvian leader threatened to dissolve the National Assembly using a controversial constitutional trick, and local media recently reported that he had tried to survey the leaders. military about backing such a move.

Since the beginning of his term, Mr. Castillo has been embroiled in high-profile corruption scandals, criminal investigations and cabinet changes. Prosecutors have accused him of leading a criminal organization with lawmakers and family members to profit from government contracts and repeatedly obstructing justice.

Peru has been troubled for years with high-profile corruption scandals that have led to five presidents since 2016. Mr. Castillo’s tenure has only deepened the feeling that the country’s political system is under attack. break.

Since taking office, he has worked through more than 80 ministers and appointed many positions with associated inexperienced political allies, some of whom have faced investigations into corruption, violence, and corruption. family and murder.

After Mr. Castillo’s defense minister resigned on Saturday, for personal reasons, rumors of a military coup – in favor of and against Mr. Castillo – spread on social media, prompting some to Opposition lawmakers stayed in Parliament overnight on Sunday fearing a violent attempt by the armed forces to close the chamber. No such attempt has been made.

On Tuesday, the head of Peru’s military submitted his resignation, citing personal reasons, in a letter published Wednesday.

Mr. Castillo, a former farmer, teacher and union activist with no experience in power, narrowly defeated Keiko Fujimori, a professional right-wing politician, in last year’s election after campaigning support the poor Peruvians left behind by the country’s economic expansion this century.

His victory reflects growing disillusionment in Peru with the political elite tainted by years of bribery scandals and infighting. Two of Mr. Castillo’s predecessors each faced two motions of impeachment, and both considered them illegitimate.

Before President Martin VizcarraPeru’s only leader to be successfully ousted before Mr. Castillo, left office after a vote in 2020, but filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court, which refused to consider the legitimacy of the ruling. it.

In a televised message to the nation late Tuesday, Mr. Castillo said the impeachment motion was part of the same effort to stop him from taking power that has dogged him since his victory over Ms. Fujimori. who led a weeks-long campaign to overturn the election results based on baseless fraudulent claims.

“During my 17 months in office, a certain part of Congress has been focused solely on removing me, because they have never accepted the outcome of an election that you, Mr. dear Peruvians, determined by your vote,” said Castillo.

“I am not corrupt,” he added. “I honestly. I am a man from the countryside who has made mistakes because of his inexperience but has never committed a crime.”

However, Mr. Castillo has not publicly responded to investigations by prosecutors or to any of the accusations by former members of his inner circle who accuse him of accepting bribes in exchange for a bribe. contracts and appoint allies to key positions.

This week, his former intelligence chief of more than a year publicly accused him of ordering his now fugitive former transport minister to evade arrest, and said Mr Castillo didn’t care. to his reports of key advisers and his family accusing him of corruption. members.

“He remained silent,” former official Jose Latorre said in a television interview.


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