After protests following the impeachment of Peru's President Pedro Castillo, his successor Dina Boluarte wants to hold new elections in 2024. Boluarte said in a speech to the nation on Monday night (local time) that she would present a bill to the South American country's Congress to bring the elections forward to mid-April 2024. The next regular election, in which both the presidency and the parliament will be decided in Peru, would actually be in 2026.
The interior minister of the Andean country, César Cervantes, also declared a state of emergency for the regions of Apurímac, Arequipa and Ica after protests and clashes with security forces killed people there. There are "blockades" in these areas, and the issue is being addressed jointly with the Ministry of Defense, Cervantes explained, according to the Gestion newspaper.
According to media reports, demonstrators had blocked highways in several parts of the South American country. There were demonstrations in some cities, including the capital Lima. In the city of Andahuaylas, rioters paralyzed the airport over the weekend and partially set it on fire. According to media reports, they had called for Boluarte's resignation and new elections, among other things. In her speech, Boluarte lamented the death of two young people during protests in her home region of Apurímac. Referring to the demonstrations, some of which turned violent, she said: "This is neither healthy for the country, nor for the economy, nor for the fight against poverty, or for the daily life of all families."
On Wednesday, the previous vice president replaced the left-wing politician Castillo as head of state and government. Castillo's government had been under pressure since the former village school teacher took office in July 2021. Because of various allegations and differences of opinion, important ministers repeatedly vacated their posts. Castillo recently appointed a new head of cabinet - the fifth person in office in just under a year and a half. The 53-year-old himself had already survived two impeachment proceedings.
Parliament removes Castillo with a clear vote
Last week he had tried to forestall a no-confidence vote by dissolving Congress with the idea of setting up an emergency government and governing by decree in the future. But Parliament sensed a coup d'état and removed him from office with a clear vote. Castillo was remanded in custody on charges of rebellion. Congress accuses him of "permanent moral unsuitability" for the office, and there are ongoing investigations into allegations of corruption and plagiarism.
But the Peruvian Congress also has a reputation for being corrupt. In her inaugural speech as president, Boluarte called on Peruvians to unite and engage in a broad dialogue "between all political forces". The 60-year-old lawyer is the first female head of state in the history of the Andean country. As such, the Organization of American States has rallied behind them.