LIMA ( Associated Press) – Peruvian President Pedro Castillo on Wednesday dissolved Congress and imposed an emergency government as lawmakers prepared to vote on a new impeachment petition in the biggest political crisis since coming to power a year ago. established.
Castillo said in a message on public television that several actors attempted a coup and had even been criticized by his own officials, in a decision that elections for a new Congress with constituent faculties, which would be called a The new Magna Carta would have to be drawn up within a period of nine months.
Shortly afterwards, Army Chief Walter Córdova and four ministers resigned, including Foreign Minister César Landa and Economy Minister Kurt Bernio.
Landa posted, “In strict adherence to my beliefs and democratic and constitutional values, I have decided to permanently resign as Minister of Foreign Affairs in protest of President Castillo’s decision to close the Congress of the Republic in violation of the Constitution.” Have done.” His twitter account…
For their part, the Joint Command of the Armed Forces and the National Police indicated in a statement that “any act contrary to the established constitutional order violates the Constitution and generates non-compliance by the Armed Forces and the National Police”.
Meanwhile, the ombudsman’s office said in a statement that after many years of democracy, Peru was facing a constitutional breakdown “that has no other name than a coup d’état.” The organization demanded Castillo’s resignation and his availability before the judicial authorities for violating the constitution “by arrogating the power that belongs only to the people.”
“Mr. Castillo must remember that he was not only elected as President of the Republic, but the people also elected representatives of public service. Castillo’s actions disregard the will of the people and are void,” the ombudsman said. Said, who asked Vice President Dina Boluarte to assume the presidency in accordance with the order of succession.
On his Twitter account, Boluarte decried the president’s decision because “it exacerbates the political and institutional crisis that Peruvian society must overcome through strict adherence to the law.”
As of the date announced by Castillo, it will be governed by decree law and a curfew from 10:00 pm (0300 GMT) to 4:00 am (0900 GMT).
The Judiciary, the Ministry of Public Affairs, the Constitutional Court and the National Justice Board will also be reorganized.
US Ambassador to Peru Lisa Keena urged Castillo on Twitter to call off the congressional shutdown. “The United States categorically rejects any extra-constitutional act by President Castillo to prevent Congress from fulfilling its mandate,” Kenna said.
This is the second time in three years that a government has shut down the Congress. In 2019, then-president Martín Vizcarra shut down parliament, but he was ousted a year later in November 2020, after three presidents in a week amid street protests that left two people dead and 200 were injured.
The announcement came as Castillo was facing a third impeachment attempt in a year and a half in office promoted by an embattled parliament that was to debate his possible removal for “permanent moral turpitude”.
The prosecutor’s office is investigating the president in six preliminary cases, most of them for alleged corruption, and their hypothesis is that Castillo used his power for profit in lieu of public functions. The President has denied the allegations.
The first rural-origin president in 200 years of the republic, who came to power in 2021 without any political experience, changed his cabinet five times with over 60 changes of secretaries, leading to paralysis of various government policies.
Although he is the first acting president to come under investigation, this is not surprising in a country where almost all former presidents of the past 40 years have been under investigation for corruption and links to multinational companies such as Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. Huh.
Since 2016, Peru has been experiencing a political crisis, with the parliament and the incumbent president seeking to eliminate each other due to disagreements. In 2019 Vizcarra (2018–2020) dissolved Congress and called for legislative elections. New legislation in 2020 ousted Vizcarra. The new president, Manuel Merino, lasted less than a week and resigned in the face of popular protests. Francisco Sagasti came to power and nine months later handed over office to the current president.
The confrontation with parliament and the prosecutor’s office is so strong that Castillo recently requested a visit by a high-level mission from the OAS, which concluded in a report that a political tussle was encouraged to encourage dialogue between the parties. is required.
Amid the struggle for power, the most severe drought in half a century hits the Andes and thousands of rural villages suffer from a lack of rain that prevents potato planting. Due to the death of sheep and camels, the natural pastures have started to decrease. At the same time, bird flu has killed more than 18,000 wild seabirds and caused at least one infection on a poultry farm, threatening chicken and turkey farming.
The government also claims that the country is facing the fifth wave of COVID-19 infection since a week. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 217,000 Peruvians have died and 4.3 million have been infected, according to official figures.