February 4, 2023

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Peru: President Dina Boluarte rules out elections as predecessor Castillo remains in prison

Eureka News Now —

Peru’s new President Dina Boluarte has ruled out snap elections on Thursday, her first day in office after the dramatic ouster and arrest of her predecessor Pedro Castillo.

Boluarte became Peru’s first female president on Wednesday after lawmakers defied Castillo, who in a fight for his political survival earlier that day tried to dissolve Congress and call for snap elections ahead of a third impeachment vote against him.

Peruvian lawmakers dubbed the move a coup d’état, and a majority of the 130-member Congress voted Wednesday to impeach Castillo. The former president was later arrested for the alleged crime of rebellion, according to the country’s attorney general.

Eureka News Now has reached out to Castillo’s defense team for comment on the allegations.

During a virtual hearing Thursday as Peru’s Supreme Court considered the prosecutor’s arrest request, Castillo’s defense dismissed allegations of rebellion and conspiracy against the president.

Prosecutor Marco Huamán also said that prosecutors considered Castillo a risk of absconding and claimed that the former president was traveling with his family to the Mexican embassy at the time of his arrest on Wednesday.

Castillo’s defense dismissed the allegations and dismissed the suggestion that Castillo was trying to flee the country.

The court has ordered a seven-day pre-trial detention for Castillo, who is being held by the police, according to the federal prosecutor’s office.

Since Wednesday’s turbulent series of events, calls have mounted among political parties and analysts for early elections to remedy Peru’s political dysfunction, which has now seen six presidents in less than five years.

But Boluarte said Thursday she needed some time.

“I know that there are some voices pointing to early elections and that is democratically serious. I believe that taking over the presidency on this occasion represents a certain reorientation of what needs to be done with the country,” Boluarte told journalists on Thursday, adding that later she will “look for alternatives to achieve the country’s goals.” better realign.”

Her rise may not ease Peru’s poisoned and embittered political landscape, as Boluarte needs to garner bipartisan support to govern.

Many Peruvians have called for a change in the political guard, according to a September poll by the Institute for Peruvian Studies (IEP), which found that 60% of respondents supported snap elections to renew both the presidency and Congress.

On Wednesday, in her first speech as president, Boluarte called for a “political truce to establish a government of national unity” and said she would fight corruption with the support of the country’s Attorney General’s office and the country’s Court of Accounts.

“My first task is to fight corruption in all forms,” ​​Boluarte said. “I have watched in disgust as the press and judicial authorities have reported shameful robberies against every Peruvian’s money, this cancer must be eradicated.”

Her predecessor Castillo was embroiled in multiple investigations into whether he used his position to benefit himself, his family and closest allies, including using influence to gain favor or preferential treatment.

Castillo has repeatedly denied all allegations and reiterated his willingness to cooperate with any investigation. He argues the allegations are the result of a witch hunt against him and his family by groups that did not accept his election victory.

His arrest marks a humiliating downturn in Castillo’s brief political career. The former schoolteacher and union leader rose from obscurity to be narrowly elected in a July 2021 runoff. and was seen as part of a “pink tide” of new left leaders in Latin America.

He ran on a platform that promised to rewrite the constitution and increase wealth redistribution by giving states greater control over markets and natural resources, promises he made in light of Peru’s rising inflation, its lack of political experience and his strong conservative opposition in Congress.