The Peruvian Congress will consider early elections Tuesday. Protesters have blocked roads and clashed security forces with protestors, causing widespread unrest since President Pedro Castillo was ousted.
The lawmakers, who are easily discredited and most hated members of the political elite, have taken up the offer to move next year’s elections for President and Congress to 2026.
Castillo’s former teacher in rural schools tried to disband Congress Dec. 7. This was widely condemned by his leftist supporters and is considered a political suicide. Dina Boluarte became the caretaker president. He was quickly arrested after the failure.
After leftist legislators abstained last week, the early elections proposal was not able to garner enough votes. They also condition their support for a constitutional assembly that would overhaul Peru’s political chart. This is something conservatives condemn as an attack on Peru’s free-market economic model.
Boluarte urged people not to be “blind” in remarks made over the weekend. He criticized lawmakers for failing to take action more quickly and decisively enough to ease political tensions. Look at people, and do what they ask.
Castillo was a new political novice. He lived in an adobe house in the Andean highlands for two stories before moving up to the presidential palace. His narrow win in election last year rocked Peru and exposed the deep divides among residents in Lima and the neglected countryside.
Castillo tried to end a deadlock with antagonist lawmakers, but that only exacerbated the tensions. Castillo was arrested and placed in jail for trying to seize power, which he claimed violated the Constitution.
Boluarte has been able to bring order back into the nation with the support of the U.S. president Joe Biden. He speaks fluently Quechua, the language spoken by many protesters.
Protesters in several areas of the country who voted Castillo and her ticket last year broke the 30-day emergency by taking to the streets demanding her resignation.
On Monday, 26 people died in the unrest after tear gas was used by security forces to disperse thousands of illegal miners. They cut off Pan-American Highway at 2 critical chokepoints. For more than one week they blocked the highway. Truckers were forced to dispose of spoiled fish and food that had been left behind for sale. Many have been hurt.
If lawmakers decided to call for elections, it would be akin to putting their hands on the job. The constitution of Peru allows the Congress to have only one term for its 130 members.
Boluarte also faces pressure from leftists in Latin America, led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Mexican President).
Boluarte’s and other calls to Peru’s inner affairs were ignored by Lopez Obrador, who has criticised Peru’s conservative media for its classist and sometimes racist portrayal of Castillo in the 17-month span of his presidency.
He stated Monday that, if the lawmakers refuse early elections and hold on to power, the president will stay. “Everything will need to be accomplished by force and suppression, which leads to great suffering and instability for the people.”
Castillo was stopped by security forces and protesters as he tried to run to the Mexican Embassy at Lima. His attempt to close down Congress failed, so the Mexican president reiterated his desire to give asylum.