Dina Boulwart became Peru’s first female president on Wednesday, crowning A A dramatic day saw the arrest of her predecessor for an alleged crime of mutiny and the legislators impeached her.
Boulwart, the country’s former vice president, was sworn in at 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 of the 130-member legislature voted to impeach former leader Pedro Castillo.
The turbulent day began when then-President Castillo announced plans to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government, ahead of a looming vote of deputies, which the Peruvian Ombudsman called an “attempted coup.”
He also called for parliamentary elections to work on a new constitution.
The move sparked a series of cabinet resignations, a fiery response from senior officials, and condemnation from the region’s neighbours—and ultimately failed to prevent his impeachment in Congress.
The Peruvian Armed Forces rejected Castillo’s attempt to sideline the legislators, calling it a “violation of the constitution”.
Polwart herself criticized Castillo’s dissolution plan, calling it on Twitter “a coup that exacerbates the political and institutional crisis that Peruvian society will have to overcome by strict adherence to the law.”
International officials have joined the chorus of Castillo’s denunciations, with the US urging the leader to “reverse” the move and “allow Peru’s democratic institutions to operate in accordance with the constitution,” US Ambassador to Peru Lisa Kenna he said on Twitter.
“We will continue to stand against and categorically reject any actions that contravene Peru’s constitution, any action that undermines democracy in that country,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
The Argentine Foreign Ministry expressed its “deep concern” about the political crisis in Peru iOur statement on TwitterBrazil’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Castillo’s actions “contradict the constitutional framework of that country, [and] represent a violation of democracy and the rule of law.”
In a stunning turn of events, Castillo was arrested by police in the capital, Lima, after he was impeached by lawmakers in Congress.
Pictures shared from the province showed the former president in a blue jacket sitting around a table as officials signed documents.
Peru’s public prosecutor’s office said, in a statement, that Castillo was arrested for the alleged crime of rebellion, “for violating the constitutional order.”
“We condemn the breach of the constitutional order,” Peruvian Attorney General Patricia Benavides said in a statement. “Peru’s political constitution enshrines the separation of powers and states that Peru is a democratic and sovereign republic… No power can place itself above the constitution and must comply with its constitutional mandates.”
It’s an humiliating end to Castillo’s short time in office. The former teacher The union leader emerged from obscurity to be elected in July 2021 by a narrow margin in a runoff, and was seen as part of a “pink tide” of new leftist leaders in Latin America.
He ran on a platform promising to rewrite the constitution and further redistribute wealth by giving states greater control on the markets and natural resources, which he struggled to meet amid high inflation in Peru, and his lack of political experience and power Conservative opposition in Congress.
The left-wing leader’s government has been mired in chaos since his inauguration, with scores of ministers appointed, replaced, sacked or resigned from their posts in just over a year – piling pressure on for him.
Castillo criticized the opposition for trying to impeach him from the first day he was in office. He accused Benavides of masterminding what he called a new form of “coup d’etat” against him through her office’s investigations.
In October, Benavides filed a constitutional complaint against Castillo based on three counts The six investigations Her office opened. The complaint allows Congress to conduct its own investigation against the former president.
Castillo faced a series of investigations into whether he used his position to benefit himself, his family, and closest allies by peddling influence to gain favor or preferential treatment, among other allegations.
Castillo has repeatedly denied all allegations and has stated his willingness to cooperate with any investigation. He says the allegations were the result of a witch-hunt against him and his family by groups that failed to accept his election victory.
The former president faces five preliminary criminal investigations into allegations of corruption schemes while in office. These include allegations by prosecutors that he led a “criminal network” that interfered with public institutions such as the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of Housing, and the Peruvian state oil company to control public bidding processes and benefit certain companies and close allies.
Prosecutors are also investigating whether the former president led efforts to extend influence over the officer promotion process in both the armed forces and the national police.
These investigations are also looking at the Castillo family, including his wife and sister-in-law. Former First Lady Lilia Paredes is being investigated on suspicion of coordinating the criminal network. Her attorney, Benji Espinosa, has maintained her innocence, and argues that the investigation against the former first lady includes “a number of flaws and omissions.”
Her sister-in-law, Yenifer Paredes, is under investigation for allegedly being part of a criminal organization, money laundering and aggravated collusion. She remained in detention until a judge canceled her 30-month “protective detention.” She also denied any wrongdoing.
“My daughter, my wife and my entire family have been attacked with the sole intention of destroying me because they don’t want me to finish my term,” Castillo said, “I promise I will finish my term, I am not corrupt.” During a televised speech from the presidential palace on October 20.
In the same speech, Castillo acknowledged that some of his closest allies must face justice over allegations of corruption, saying, “If they betray my trust, let justice take care of them.”
President Bulwart’s image was also tarnished by her congressional constitutional inquiry, which was dismissed on December 5.
Her rise may not dilute Peru’s toxic and bitter political scene as she will need to gain support from various parties in order to govern.
Meanwhile, many Peruvians have called for a complete reset. In September 2022, 60% of Peruvians say they support early elections to modernize the presidency and Congress, According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP).
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