Monday, January 30, 2023

Peru: Congress accepts new debate to dismiss Castillo

LIMA ( Associated Press) – Peru’s Congress on Thursday accepted a new request to discuss the ouster of President Pedro Castillo, after the president called for talks to ensure the regime remains stable.

This is the third legislative attempt to remove Castillo under the argument of “permanent moral incapacity” since the beginning of his government. The request was approved with 73 votes in favor, 32 against and 6 abstentions.

The president of Congress, the conservative Jose Williams, set next Wednesday for a debate on whether Castillo would be able to attend parliament to defend himself or send a lawyer.

It is unknown at this time whether the legislative opposition will reach the 87 votes needed to remove Castillo, who is facing his third removal process in 16 months in government.

Earlier, Castillo called on the heads of state institutions and the country’s political and social leaders to “negotiate and ensure governance”.

The call came a week after a high-level mission visit to Lima from the Organization of American States recommended a political struggle in Washington to ensure governance and preserve democracy in Peru.

The new effort to remove him for moral incapacity indicates that “it is unacceptable for the president to continue in office amid strong indications of corruption, serious insubordination, or moral and ethical questions.”

Permanent moral incapacity is a clause included in Peruvian constitutional laws more than 180 years ago and according to experts “has no objective definition”. In the 19th century it meant “madness”, but many now associate it with corruption.

It is the seventh time since 2017 that parliament has used the argument of “permanent moral incapacity” to try to remove presidents, contributing to the ongoing political crisis.

Castillo is facing a preliminary investigation by prosecutors for alleged corruption. Prosecutors argue that the president takes advantage of his position of power to benefit financially from a coterie of family members, officials and friends. The President denies all allegations.

In Peru, a president cannot be prosecuted during his government except in cases of treason, dissolving parliament, not calling elections, or preventing the operation of Congress or electoral bodies, except in cases of treason.

Since 2016, Peru has had five leaders and three parliaments, a period that would normally have had two leaders and two congresses. In 2020 alone, there were three leaders in a span of just one week, leading to clashes that left two dead and over 200 injured.

Parliament and Castillo are unpopular in Peru, although congressional disapproval is high according to all polls.

Nation World News Desk
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