Power struggle in Peru: Deposed President Castillo arrested

Status: 07.12.2022 21:58

Peru’s President Castillo had announced that he wanted to dissolve parliament. This voted shortly thereafter by a large majority for his dismissal. Meanwhile, Castillo was arrested and taken to a police station.

The power struggle in Peru between President Pedro Castillo and the parliament continues to escalate. After Parliament voted to impeach Castillo, he was arrested. The state news agency Andina reported that he was being questioned by prosecutors in the prefecture in Lima. Castillo had previously announced that he wanted to dissolve parliament.

“Congress has destroyed the rule of law, democracy and the balance between state powers,” Castillo said before his arrest. According to media reports, he wanted to set up an emergency government and re-elect Congress “as soon as possible”. However, it was unclear whether the President could actually have dissolved Congress.

According to Castillo, a newly elected Congress should draft a new constitution. “Until the new Congress begins its work, we will govern with decrees,” he had announced. He had also imposed a nationwide night curfew.

Third impeachment attempt

Shortly after his announcements, however, parliamentarians voted to remove the head of state. 101 members of Congress voted in favor of the motion of no confidence, six against and ten abstained. In this case, the constitution provides for Vice President Dina Boluarte to take over the duties.

Peruvian MPs jubilantly pose for a photo after the vote in the impeachment trial against Castillo.

Image: AFP

It is the third time since taking office in July 2022 that Castillo has been removed from office. His government is under investigation for corruption allegations. Two of his predecessors were removed from office in similar proceedings. But parliamentarians are also reportedly being investigated for various allegations.

Opposition: “It’s illegal”

Because of Castillo’s announcement that he wanted to dissolve the congress, the opposition spoke of a coup d’état. “He’s not allowed to do what he just did. It’s illegal,” MP Martha Moyano from the right-wing Fuerza Popular party told radio station RPP. Her party colleague Héctor Ventura said: “Today, the armed forces must respect the democratic order.” MP and former admiral José Cueto wrote on Twitter: “What Pedro Castillo has done is a coup d’etat. The armed forces will support the constitution and not the dictator.”

Numerous ministers resigned after Castillo’s announcement. “Because the rule of law has been violated and in accordance with my democratic principles, I hereby submit my irrevocable resignation as Minister of Economy and Finance,” wrote Finance Minister Kurt Burneo on Twitter.

Foreign Minister Cesar Landa and Justice Minister Felix Chero are also said to have made their offices available. Attorney General Patricia Benavides said: “We strongly reject the breach of the constitutional order.”

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