Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Third attempt to impeach Peru’s president

LIMA ( Associated Press) – Peru’s President Pedro Castillo faced a third impeachment attempt Wednesday in a year and a half in office promoted by a fractious parliament that is debating his possible removal for “permanent moral turpitude.”

It is not clear whether the Congress will be able to muster the required 87 votes out of a total of 130 MLAs to remove him. Castillo said in an unusual message on state television, at around midnight, that he would “never tarnish the good last name of my honest and exemplary parents, who, like millions of Peruvians, faithfully worked for their families from sunrise to sunset.” Let’s work to build the future of ,

The president indicated that “he is paying for mistakes due to his inexperience” and that a certain area of ​​parliament was “the only item on his agenda to remove me from office because he never accepted the results of the election”. That you, dear Peruvian, are defined by your vote.” ,

Castillo, whose government begins in July 2021, said he would face a vacancy request based on “statements from third parties that implicate me, without evidence, in order to reduce my sentence for alleged acts of abuse of my faith.” Try to include.”

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.

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 the rearing of chickens and turkeys, which are popular for sale in December because They are used for Christmas and Christmas dinner. New Year.

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.

The Parliament seeking Castillo’s ouster is deeply infuriated and according to all polls, the President’s popularity in the Legislature has tripled. 86% disapprove of the Congress’s management, while 10% approve. Castillo garners 61% unpopularity and 31% popularity, according to a November poll by the Institute of Peruvian Studies.

There is a stark contrast in the South American country: while a majority in Lima rejects Castillo and calls for his removal from power, Peruvians in other cities in the interior and rural areas call on him to remain in office until the end of his presidency. . 2026 and keep your promises. Many Peruvians in the interior also demand that he close the parliament.

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, President Martín Vizcarra (2018–2020) dissolved Congress and called legislative elections. New legislation in 2020 ousted Vizcarra. The new president, Manuel Merino, lasted less than a week and resigned after a march that left two dead and 200 injured. Francisco Sagasti came to power and nine months later handed over office to the current president.

Castillo has not been able to keep his promises to fight corruption, raise taxes on mining profits, expand natural gas, rewrite the constitution, and end alleged monopolies that raise the prices of domestic gas and drugs.

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 Organization of American States (OAS), which concluded in a report that it was necessary to encourage dialogue between the parties. requires a political struggle. , But the friction is so marked that hours after the report was released, Congress approved a third request to debate Castillo’s dismissal.

According to constitutional law experts, on two previous occasions, Parliament failed in its attempt to remove him, a reason written into the constitution called “permanent moral turpitude”, which has no objective definition. In the 19th century it meant madness but now many people associate it with corruption.

It is the eighth time since 2016 that parliament has tried to remove a president, contributing to a political crisis that has not ended. Since then, Peru has had five leaders and three parliaments, whereas the normal would have been two presidents and two congresses.

Nation World News Desk
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