Peru’s Congress voted Wednesday to impeach President Pedro Castillo. This was just hours after Castillo attempted to dissolve the legislature through decree, causing a constitutional crisis in the country.
Castillo’s attempts to close down Congress were ignored by lawmakers who continued with their planned impeachment trial with 101 votes for him being removed, six against, and 10 abstentions. With loud cheers, the result was declared and Vice President Dina Boluarte was elected to office.
Peru’s National Police shared a Twitter image of Castillo unrestrained in a Peruvian police station following the election. It claimed that they had “intervened to fulfil their duties.” Castillo was referred to as the “ex-president”. His detention was not known.
Castillo had previously said that he would shut down Congress temporarily and create a government of exception. He also called for new legislative election.
This led to the resignation of key Castillo government ministers and accusations of an opposition “coup”. He was warned by the police and Armed Forces that the path he took to disintegrate Congress was not constitutional.
Castillo was summoned by Congress last week in response to allegations of moral incapacity to govern. Castillo was allegedly the leader of “a criminal organisation” that profited from state contracts, and obstruction to investigations. The October constitution complaint was filed by the prosecutor’s Office.
Castillo called the accusations “slander” made by groups looking to “take advantage of and seize power taken from the people at the polls.”
The leftist teacher-turned-president has survived two previous attempts to impeach him since he began his term in July 2021.
After announcing that Congress would be disbanded, his allies left him and his ministers resigned. His move was criticized by the U.S. ambassador.
The U.S. Ambassador to Peru Lisa Kenna tweeted that “The United States categorically rejected any extra-constitutional act of President Castillo in order to prevent Congress fulfilling its mandate.”
Markets in No. 2 copper producer around the globe were rattled by this turmoil. Analysts believe that Castillo’s removal, who had been fighting a hostile Congress ever since he took power, may be beneficial for investors.
Peru has been through years of political chaos and has witnessed major standoffs with Congress in the past.
Martin Vizcarra, President of the United States, disbanded Congress in order to be impeached by him in 2020. Former president Alberto Fujimori was imprisoned for corruption and human rights violations three decades ago.