A woman has become the president of Peru for the first time after the former president Pedro Castillo was impeached and arrested in a dramatic turn of events on Wednesday Dec. 7.
Dina Boluarte, a 60-year-old leftist lawyer and Castillo’s vice president, was sworn in to replace him, and pledged to end corruption in the country.
How Did The Political Drama Start?
53-year-old Castillo, a political newcomer who became the country’s first leftist president in a generation, had been facing an impeachment vote in Congress over charges of corruption.
But hours of the vote on Wednesday, Castillo announced in a surprise national address that he was dissolving Congress, instituting a curfew and installing an emergency government.
The move was widely seen as an attempted coup to cling onto power, according to the New York Times.
Did Castillo’s Plan To Dissolve Congress Work?
It did not work.
Top government officials resigned en masse, while the top court called the move unconstitutional.
The country’s army and police issued a joint statement rejecting his move and refusing to support him.
He was criticized by top officials, including by Boluarte, and the international community.
Two hours later, Castillo was still impeached by Congress, with 101 lawmakers voting in favor of his removal, six against and 10 abstaining.
He was then detained on charges of “rebellion” and “conspiracy” for breaking the constitutional order, according to the public ministry, Reuters reported.
Boluarte was installed as the country’s new president.
Why Was Castillo Facing Impeachment In The First Place?
A former farmer, teacher and union activist who had been elected on a campaign of helping the country’s poor and ending inequality, Castillo had been facing the impeachment vote after he was accused of leading a criminal organization that profited off government contracts and for repeatedly obstructing investigations, according to Reuters.
Castillo denied the charges, with some of his supporters calling them an effort to reinstate the former ruling elites, according to the New York Times.
What Happened During Castillo’s Term?
Since he took office in July 2021, public approval of Castillo – who named five cabinets in just one a half years and was facing six criminal investigations – has declined as inflation soared and he failed to deliver on his campaign promises.
Protests broke out in March over the rising price of fuel and after a second failed attempt to impeach him.
What Are The Challenges Facing Peru?
A quarter of Peru’s population of 33 million lives in poverty, and the country has the highest rate of food insecurity in South America, according to the United Nations.
With Bolurate, Peru will have had seven presidents in just seven years. Three presidents in recent years have been removed from office over corruption allegations, according to the New York Times.
After naming a new cabinet on Saturday Dec. 10, Boluarte called for calm as protests broke out in support of Castillo and calling for a new election and constitution.
Boluarte, who is set to remain in office until 2026 unless there are early elections, has said that she is open to discussing early elections but ruled out drafting a new constitution in the short term.
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