Peru’s Castillo impeached and arrested, Boluarte sworn in as new president



CNN

Dina Bolvarete became Peru’s first female president on Wednesday, ending a dramatic day that saw her predecessor arrested on sedition charges and lawmakers impeached.

Bulvarte, the country’s former vice president, was sworn in by Congress to become Peru’s sixth president in less than five years.

The ceremony came hours after a majority of 101 members of the 130-member legislature voted to impeach former leader Pedro Castillo.

The tumultuous day began when Peru’s then-president Castillo announced plans to dissolve Congress and establish an emergency government ahead of an imminent impeachment vote by lawmakers, which Peru’s ombudsman described as an “attempted coup.”

He also called for parliamentary elections to work on the new constitution.

The move led to a string of cabinet resignations, fiery backlash from senior officials and condemnation from regional neighbors — and ultimately failed to prevent his impeachment in Congress.

Peru’s armed forces rejected Castillo’s attempt to sideline lawmakers, calling it a “violation of the constitution.”

And Bularte himself criticized Castillo’s dissolution plan, describing it on Twitter as “a coup that aggravates the political and institutional crisis that Peruvian society must overcome with strict adherence to the law.”

Castillo was arrested in Lima province on Wednesday.

US Ambassador to Peru Lisa Kenna International officials joined the chorus of condemnation of Castillo, and the US called on the leader to “reverse” the move and “allow Peru’s democratic institutions to function according to the constitution.” said on Twitter.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement: “We will continue to stand up and resolutely reject any action that violates Peru’s constitution and any action that undermines democracy in that country.”

Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed deep concern about Peru’s political crisisna statement on TwitterAnd Brazil’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Castillo’s actions were “incompatible with the country’s constitutional framework.” [and] It shows a violation of democracy and the rule of law.”

In a stunning turn of events, Castillo was detained by police in the capital city of Lima after lawmakers were impeached in Congress.

Peru's Dina Bulvarte was sworn in as president on December 7, 2022 in Lima.

Pictures shared from the province showed the former president in a blue jacket sitting around a table as officials signed documents.

Peru’s attorney general’s office said in a statement that Castillo was arrested on charges of sedition “for violating constitutional order.”

“We condemn the violation of constitutional order,” Peruvian Attorney General Patricia Benavides said in a statement. “The Political Constitution of Peru affirms the separation of powers and specifies that Peru is a democratic and independent republic… No authority can place itself above the Constitution and must obey its constitutional mandates.”

CNN has reached out to Castillo’s defense team for comment on the allegations.

It’s a humiliating end to Castillo’s short tenure in power. The former school teacher and union leader emerged from obscurity and was narrowly elected in a second round in July 2021, seen as part of the “pink gang” of new left leaders in Latin America.

He ran on a platform that promised to rewrite the constitution and increase the redistribution of wealth by giving states more control over markets and natural resources, pledges that came amid soaring inflation in Peru, a lack of political experience and strong conservative opposition in Congress has tried to make it happen.

The leftist leader’s government has been in chaos since taking office, with dozens of ministers appointed, replaced, sacked or resigned in little more than a year – adding to the pressure on him.

Since his first day in power, Castillo has criticized the opposition for trying to oust him. He has accused Benavides of orchestrating what he calls a new form of “coup” against him through his office’s investigations.

In October, Benavidez filed a constitutional complaint against Castillo based on three of the six investigations his office had opened. The complaint allows Congress to conduct its own investigation against the former president.

Castillo has faced a flurry of investigations into whether he used his position to benefit himself, his family and his closest allies by exerting influence to obtain favors or preferential treatment, among other allegations.

Castillo has repeatedly denied all allegations and reiterated his readiness to cooperate with any investigation. He argues that these charges are the result of a witch hunt against him and his family by groups that did not accept his election victory.

Lawmakers stand inside Congress for the impeachment of President Pedro Castillo in Lima, Peru, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.

The former president is facing five preliminary criminal investigations for allegedly designing corruption schemes during his presidency. These include prosecutors’ allegations that he led a “criminal network” that interfered with public institutions such as the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Housing and Peru’s state oil company to control public tender processes and benefit certain companies and their close allies.

Prosecutors are also investigating whether the former president attempted to influence the promotion of officers in the armed forces and the national police.

The investigation also examines Castillo’s family, including his wife and sister-in-law. Lilia Paredes, the former first lady, is under investigation on suspicion of coordinating this criminal network. Her lawyer, Benji Espinoza, has maintained her innocence, arguing that the investigation against the former first lady contains “a number of flaws and omissions.”

Police officers stand guard as people gather outside Peru's Congress after President Pedro Castillo said he would dissolve it on December 7.

His sister-in-law, Yennefer Paredes, is under investigation for being a member of a criminal organization, money laundering and aggravated collusion. He was in custody until a judge revoked his “preventive detention” for 30 months. He has also denied any wrongdoing.

“My daughter, my wife, my whole family has been attacked with the sole purpose of destroying me because they don’t want me to finish my term, I promise you I will finish my term, I’m not corrupt,” Castillo said. During a televised speech from the presidential palace on October 20.

In the same speech, Castillo acknowledged that some of his closest allies should face justice on corruption charges, saying: “If they betrayed my trust, let justice take care of them.”

President Bolvarte’s image has also been tarnished by his constitutional investigation by Congress, which was rejected on December 5.

His ascension may not necessarily ease Peru’s toxic and bitter political landscape, as he needs cross-party support to govern.

Meanwhile, many Peruvians have called for a complete reset. According to a September 2022 poll by the Institute for Peruvian Studies (IEP), 60 percent of Peruvians said they supported early elections for presidential and congressional renewal.



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