The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, was dismissed and arrested after attempting a self-coup

The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, was dismissed this Wednesday by Congress and detained by the police after attempting a self-coup. The unicameral Parliament summoned the vice president, Dina Boluarte, a 60-year-old lawyer, who was sworn in today. Just a few hours before, Castillo had decreed the dissolution of the legislature and the establishment of an “exception government.” In addition, the president had dictated a night curfew throughout the country, without effect by the country’s presidential office.

The emergency measures announced by Castillo were quickly branded a “coup d’état”, not only by the opposition, but also by ministers and senior government officials, who resigned in a row. Vice President Boluarte herself immediately distanced herself from Castillo and denounced a “coup” and requested a political truce in order to combat corruption.

After Boluarte was sworn in, the Peruvian ambassador to Spain, Oscar Maúrtua de Romaña, submitted his “irrevocable” resignation for “democratic convictions.” 

The armed forces and the Peruvian National Police (PNP) issued a joint statement implying that the president had no reason to dissolve Congress and that, therefore, they positioned themselves against any breach of the constitutional order. In fact, after his speech, Castillo left the Government Palace and went to the PNP prefecture in Lima, where he was detained. Hours later, the Prosecutor’s Office announced that it planned to denounce him for rebellion.HorizontalIf they experienced moments of tension outside Congress between supporters of Pedro Castillo and the Lima police

Castillo, a leftist outsider who came to power in July of last year, announced his contested measures hours before appearing before Congress today to face the third impeachment of his term. However, the deputies ignored the president and also began the session to proceed with the dismissal of Castillo and carried it out by a large majority: 101 votes in favor of dismissal, six against, and ten abstentions.

The president had made the announcement through a message to the nation in which he assured that his intention was to “convene elections for a new Congress with constituent powers as soon as possible, to prepare a new Constitution within a period of no more than nine months.” . Meanwhile, he said, “it will be governed by decree law.”

The president justified himself “in response to the citizen’s claim throughout the country”, announcing an “exception government”, on a “temporary” basis. “We made the decision to establish an emergency government aimed at establishing the rule of law and democracy, for which purpose the measures are issued: temporarily dissolve the Congress of the Republic and establish an exceptional emergency government.” In addition, the president announced the “reorganization of the justice system, the Judiciary, the Public Ministry, the National Board of Justice and the Constitutional Court.”

“The most extreme political adversaries unite with the sole purpose of making the government fail to take power without having won an election,” Castillo said in his speech, just a few hours before his failed appearance in Congress to submit to the third impeachment of his mandate, accused of corruption. Castillo had weathered the other two impeachment attempts, as lawmakers’ votes never reached the required supermajority, 87 of 130 total seats.The President of Peru, Pedro CastilloThe president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, making the announcement this Wednesday, in a message to the nation

Castillo’s pronouncement is reminiscent of the self-coup carried out by President Alberto Fujimori in 1992, when he also dissolved Congress and took control of the Judiciary and the rest of the State institutions. At that time, Fujimori had the support of the military and the police, something that has not happened now.

Castillo was left alone. His ministers and collaborators resigned en masse and described their measures as a “coup d’état”. In addition to the rejection of the vice president – ​​a position of popular election, along with that of president – ​​other heavyweights of the Executive also distanced themselves from Castillo, who resigned, such as the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economy or Labor. “In strict adherence to my convictions and democratic and constitutional values, I have decided to irrevocably resign from the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs, given President Castillo’s decision to close the Congress of the Republic, violating the Constitution,” said Foreign Minister César Landa. .

Peru has not overcome the institutional crisis in which it has been plunged since 2016. Since then, Boluarte is its seventh president and the first woman.