Dina Boluarte became Peru’s first female president on Wednesday, ending a dramatic day that saw her predecessor arrested on charges of rebellion and dismissed by parliament.
Boluarte, a former vice president of the country, was sworn in to the highest office in Congress to become Peru’s sixth president in less than five years.
The ceremony took place hours after a majority of 101 members in the 130-member legislature voted to oust former leader Pedro Castillo.
The day of chaos began when then-president Castillo announced plans to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government, ahead of the upcoming legislative elections, which Peru’s aid worker described as “a coup d’état.” ”
He also called for parliamentary elections to work on the new constitution.
The move prompted several staff resignations, a backlash from senior officials and condemnation from the region’s neighbors — and eventually blocked his impeachment in Congress.
The Peruvian military rejected Castillo’s attempt to flee the parliament, calling it a “violation of the law.”
Boluarte himself criticized Castillo’s campaign plan, describing it on Twitter as a “disruption that exacerbates the political and institutional crisis that Peruvian society must face through strict adherence to the law.”
International officials joined the condemnation of Castillo’s case, and the United States is urging the leader to “reverse” the movement and “allow Peru’s democratic institutions to function according to law,” the US ambassador to Peru Lisa Kenna. said on Twitter.
“We will continue to oppose and strongly reject any act that violates Peru’s constitution, any act that undermines democracy in that country,” said US State Department spokesman Ned Price. and declaration.
Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “deep concern” for Peru’s political crisisin a statement on Twitterand Brazil’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Castillo’s actions “are inconsistent with the country’s constitution. [and] represents a violation of democracy and the rule of law.”
In a surprise move, Castillo was arrested by police in the capital city of Lima after lawmakers expelled him from Congress.
Images shared by the region showed the former president, wearing a blue jacket, sitting at a table where officials signed documents.
In a statement, the office of the Attorney General of Peru said that Castillo was arrested for alleged rebellion, “for violating the law.”
“We condemn the violation of the constitution,” Peru’s Attorney General, Patricia Benavides said in a statement. “The political constitution of Peru supports the separation of powers and establishes that Peru is a democratic and free country… No authority can place itself above the law and must follow its constitution .”
It was an embarrassing end to Castillo’s short tenure in office. The former school teacher and party leader from the secret to be elected in July 2021 by a narrow margin, is seen as part of the “pink water” of new left leaders in Latin America .
He is running on a platform that promises to rewrite the constitution and increase the economy by giving the state greater control over natural resources, promises that he has struggled to deliver on ‘between rising inflation in Peru, lack of political experience and strong opposition to change in Congress.
The government of the left-wing leader has been in chaos since his inauguration, with several ministers appointed, replaced, fired or terminated in more than a year – putting more pressure on him.
Castillo has criticized the opposition for trying to oust him on his first day in office. He accused Benavides of orchestrating what he called a new form of “subversion” against him by investigating his office.
In October, Benavides filed a constitutional complaint against Castillo based on three of the six investigations his office opened. The impeachment allows Congress to conduct its own investigation against the former president.
Castillo has faced many investigations on whether he used his position to benefit himself, his family and those he associates with by maintaining influence to gain favor or preferential treatment, among other claims.
Castillo has repeatedly denied all allegations and reiterated his willingness to cooperate with any investigation. He says that this charge is due to a witch hunt against him and his family by a group of people who did not accept his victory in the election.
The former president is facing five preliminary criminal investigations for allegedly organizing a corruption scheme while in office. These include prosecutors’ accusations that he leads a “criminal network” that prevents public institutions such as the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Housing and Peru’s state oil company from controlling the public debt process. the king benefits from certain companies and partners.
Prosecutors are also investigating whether the former President led efforts to influence the process of promoting the police, both the military and the national police.
The investigations also focus on Castillo’s family, including his wife and daughter-in-law. Lilia Paredes’ ex-wife is being investigated for allegedly organizing a criminal network. Her lawyer, Benji Espinoza, insisted on her innocence and argued that the investigation against the first lady included “a lot of flaws and omissions.”
His sister-in-law Yenifer Paredes is being investigated for allegedly being part of a crime syndicate, money laundering and gross corruption. He remains in prison until a judge revokes his “prohibition of arrest” for 30 months. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Castillo said, “My daughter, my wife, my whole family have attacked me with the sole purpose of destroying me because they don’t want me to finish my time, I promise you that I will finish my time, not I’m dirty,” Castillo said. during a televised address from the Presidential Palace on October 20.
In the same speech, Castillo admitted that some of his close associates should face justice due to allegations of corruption, saying, “If they betrayed my trust, let them be judged right take care of them.”
President Boluarte has also been tarnished by a constitutional review by Congress that was dismissed on December 5.
His rise may not ease the toxic and angry political landscape as he will need to win the support of the party to be able to rule.
Meanwhile, many Peruvians are calling for collective restructuring. In September 2022, 60% of Peruvians said they support early elections to gain power in both the presidency and Congress, according to a poll conducted by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP).