Castillo proposes to dissolve the Peruvian Congress, he impeaches it | Government News

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo dissolved the National Congress on Wednesday and called for new legislative elections, but Congress rejected the decree and voted to replace him with the vice president.

Castillo had tried to beat lawmakers to the fist as they prepared to debate a third attempt to impeach him. The national ombudsman’s office called it a “coup”.

Lawmakers then voted 101 to 6 with 10 abstentions to remove Castillo from office on grounds of “permanent moral incapacity”.

In a televised statement on Wednesday, Castillo had announced an “exceptional government”, allowing him to use emergency powers to call new elections. Castillo called the decision an attempt to “restore the rule of law and democracy” in Peru.

The president of Peru’s Constitutional Court called Castillo’s decision a “coup” and members of the right-wing opposition called on the armed forces to “restore constitutional order”. On Twitter, Peruvian Vice President Dina Boluarte called it a “collapse of the constitutional order”.

Foreign Minister Cesar Landa resigned in protest.

“I have decided to irrevocably resign from the post of Foreign Minister, given President Castillo’s decision to close Congress,” Landa said, accusing the president of “violating the Constitution.”

The United States echoed criticism of Castillo’s decision, with US Ambassador to Peru Lisa Kenna writing on Twitter: “The United States categorically rejects any extraconstitutional act by President Castillo aimed at preventing Congress from fulfilling its mandate. “.

“The United States urges President Castillo to reverse his attempt to shut down Congress and allow Peru’s democratic institutions to function in accordance with the Constitution. We encourage the Peruvian public to remain calm during this uncertain time,” she said.

The presidential power to dissolve the Peruvian Congress is controversial and rarely exercised. In 2019, amid his own embattled tenure, then-president Martin Vizcarra dissolved Congress, resulting in its own suspension. He was then indicted.

And in 1992, Alberto Fujimori — a polarizing figure imprisoned for human rights violation – also used his presidential powers to dissolve the legislature and suspend the country’s constitution.

In his speech, Castillo mentioned that a new Congress would have the ability to draft a new Constitution, one of his main campaign promises in the 2021 presidential elections.

Hailing from the rural town of San Luis de Puña in northwestern Peru, Castillo has established himself as a dark horse in the electoral cycle, representing the Marxist political party Peru Libre.

A former union organizer and primary school teacher, Castillo campaigned on populist themes, with slogans such as “Only the people will save the people” and “No more poor in a rich country”.

But from the start, Castillo’s presidency has been accused of corruption and wrongdoing. He narrowly edged his right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori in a runoff election by just over 40,000 votes, taking her to denounce the elections for fraud. These assertions remain unfounded.

Nearly five months after being sworn in, Castillo faced his first impeachment attempt in December 2021, followed by a second impeachment attempt in March 2022.

Both impeachment efforts failed to secure the two-thirds majority in Congress needed to succeed.

Castillo’s latest impeachment attempt comes after Peruvian prosecutors filed a constitutional complaint against the president in October, the most aggressive push yet against the president. The complaint came hours after five of Castillo’s allies were arrested on corruption charges.

“We have found very serious indications of a criminal organization that has taken root within the government,” Attorney General Patricia Benavides said.

With six allegations of corruption against the president, protesters took to the streets last month, demanding Castillo’s removal. Tear gas had to be used to disperse the crowds in the country’s capital, Lima.

Castillo denied the allegations and called the constitutional complaint a “coup”. But while the Peruvian president enjoys immunity from criminal prosecution, the constitutional complaint has opened the door for Congress to hold its own trial to assess the allegations.

On December 1, the 130-member legislature opted to do so, with 73 members – mostly from right-wing parties – voting to begin impeachment proceedings.

In addition to “moral incompetence”, Castillo faces charges of incompetence. In just over a year and a half in office, Castillo has appointed five cabinets and about 80 ministers.

Wednesday’s events continue a trend of instability in the Peruvian government, which has seen seven presidents and four former leaders detained or wanted for corruption since 2011. The Peruvian dollar fell in value following the announcement of Castillo to dissolve Congress.

Castillo has publicly promised to remain in office and serve his full five-year term, which is set to end in 2026.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *