Monday, February 6, 2023

Peruvian Congress to reconsider moving forward with elections

LIMA, Peru ( Associated Press) – Peru’s Congress was due to consider holding early elections Tuesday, under pressure from protesters who blocked highways and security forces amid deadly nationwide protests by lawmakers who ousted former President Pedro Castillo. clashed with

It is the second time in as many days that lawmakers – perhaps the most unpopular of the political elite with little public support – have addressed the issue of pushing for next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for 2026. Were.

The measure has the support of interim president Dina Boluarte, who took power after Castillo, a former rural teacher, attempted to dissolve Congress on 7 December, a move widely seen by his leftist allies as a self-coup and suicide. I was condemned. , Castillo was quickly arrested after his failed attempt.

The initial election proposal did not get enough votes last week due to the absence of left-wing lawmakers, who voted their support on a promise to create a constitutional assembly to reform Peru’s constitution. Conservatives see that proposal as a threat to Peru’s free-market economic model.

“Don’t be blind,” Boluaarte said over the weekend, criticizing lawmakers for not acting more decisively to ease rising tensions. “Look at the population and act.”

A political novice who lived in a two-story adobe house in the Andean highlands before moving to the presidential palace, Castillo won a narrow victory in last year’s elections that shook Peru’s traditional political class and struck a chord with residents of the dynamic capital. highlighted the differences. , Lima and the rural surroundings were neglected for decades.

Castillo’s efforts to close Congress to break the impasse with hostile legislators further exacerbated those tensions. Within hours of his attempted power grab, he was impeached by Congress and faced criminal proceedings, accusing him of attempting a power grab against the Constitution.

Boluarte, who is endorsed by US President Joe Biden and is fluent in the Quechua language used by many protesters, has fought to restore order in the volatile country.

Protesters who voted last year for the candidacies of Castillo and Boluarte in different parts of the country defied a 30-day state of emergency and took to the streets demanding the president’s immediate resignation.

The death toll in the protests rose to 26 on Monday after security forces tear-gassed thousands of artisanal miners who blocked the Pan-American Highway at two key points for more than a week, allowing trucks Drivers were forced to drop off fish and food for sale. Bad. Hundreds of people have been injured.

If the legislators agree to an early election, they will, in effect, find themselves without a job. Peru’s constitution indicates that the 130 members of Congress may only serve in one legislature.

Boluarte also faces pressure from other Latin American left-wing leaders, led by Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Ignoring claims by Peruvian officials and others that he does not interfere in internal affairs, López Obrador has criticized Peru’s conservative media and the country’s business sector for being classist and sometimes mean during his 17 months in office. Castillo portrayed.

On Monday he said that if the legislators refused to hold early elections and remained in power, and the president remained in office, “they would achieve everything with repression, with the use of force, because there would be a lot of suffering among the people”. There will be and a lot of volatility”.

The Mexican president 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 a failed attempt to shut down Congress.

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

Nation World News Desk
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