Friday, June 9, 2023

Peru Congress to reconsider early election as unrest continues

LIMA, Peru (AP) – Peru’s Congress is set to consider holding early elections Tuesday, surrounded by protesters who have blocked highways and amid deadly nationwide unrest since President Pedro Castillo was ousted. clashed with the security forces.

It is the second time in days that lawmakers – easily the most discredited of the widely discredited political elite – are taking up a proposal for the president and Congress to move elections originally planned for 2026 to next year.

The measure has the support of Acting President Dina Boluarte, who took over from Castillo after a former rural school teacher tried to dissolve Congress on 7 December – a move his leftist supporters also described as a self-coup and an act of political suicide. was widely condemned as , After the failed ploy, he was swiftly arrested.

An initial election proposal failed to garner enough votes last week after left-wing lawmakers were absent, conditioning their support on a promise of a constitutional assembly to overhaul Peru’s political charter – something that would threaten conservative Peru’s free-market economic model. Condemn the risk.

“Don’t be blind,” Boluaert said in comments over the weekend, slamming lawmakers for not moving decisively to ease rising political tensions. “Look at people and take action according to what they’re asking.”

political cartoon

Castillo, a political novice who lived in a two-story adobe house in the Andean highlands before moving to the presidential palace, won a narrow victory in elections last year that shook Peru’s political establishment and fueled deep anger among residents of the vibrant The division was laid bare. the capital, Lima, and the long-neglected countryside.

Castillo’s efforts to break the impasse with hostile lawmakers by shutting down Congress only deepened those tensions. Within hours of his attempt to seize power, he was ousted by Congress and jailed while facing a criminal investigation, accused of trying to seize power in violation of the constitution.

In many parts of the country, protesters who voted for her and Castillo’s ticket last year defied the 30-day state of emergency and took to the streets to demand his immediate resignation.

The death toll from the unrest rose to 26 on Monday as security forces fired tear gas and dispersed thousands of informal miners who have blocked the Pan-American Highway at two key chokepoints for more than a week. forcing the truckers to dump the spoiled food and fish. Market. Hundreds have been injured.

Should MPs decide to go ahead with the elections, they would summarily find themselves out of work. Under Peru’s constitution, the 130 members of Congress are only entitled to serve one term.

Boluaarte also faces pressure from fellow leftists in Latin America, led by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Ignoring calls from Boluaarte and others to stay out of Peru’s internal affairs, López Obrador has criticized Peru’s conservative media and business establishment for the classist, sometimes fanatical manner it has been during his 17-month presidency. Castillo is featured during the post.

On Monday he said that if lawmakers reject the early election and cling to power, and the president remains in place, “everything will have to be achieved by force and repression, causing a great deal of instability for the people”. “

The Mexican president has reiterated his willingness to grant asylum to Castillo, who was stopped by protesters and security forces while trying to flee to the Mexican embassy in Lima after his bid to shut down Congress failed.

Associated Press writers Joshua Goodman in Miami and Fabiola Sanchez in Mexico City contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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