The Peruvian congress will reconsider advancing the elections

The Congress The Peruvian was scheduled to consider holding early elections on Tuesday, under pressure from protesters who have blocked highways and clashed with security forces amid deadly nationwide protests sparked by lawmakers ousting the former president. Pedro Castillo.

It is the second time in a matter of days that parliamentarians – probably the most unpopular of a political elite with little public support – have addressed the issue of bringing forward to next year the presidential and parliamentary elections, which were originally scheduled for 2026.

The measure has the backing of the interim president, Dina Boluarte, who took power after former rural teacher Castillo tried to dissolve Congress on December 7, a move widely condemned even by his leftist allies as a self-coup and an act of suicide. political. Castillo was quickly arrested after his failed attempt.

The early electoral proposal did not get enough votes last week due to the abstention of leftist parliamentarians, who conditioned their support on a promise to form a constitutional assembly to reform Peru’s constitution. Conservatives see that proposal as a threat to Peru’s free-market economic model.

“Don’t be blind,” Boluarte said over the weekend, criticizing lawmakers for not acting more decisively to reduce rising tensions. “Look at the population and act.”

A political neophyte who lived in a two-story adobe house in the Andean highlands before moving to the presidential palace, Castillo won a narrow victory in last year’s elections that rocked Peru’s traditional political class and exposed the profound differences between the residents of the dynamic capital, Lima, and a rural environment ignored for decades.

Castillo’s attempts to shut down Congress to break the deadlock with hostile legislators only exacerbated those tensions. Within hours of his attempt to seize power, he was impeached by Congress and faced criminal proceedings charging him with attempting to usurp power against the constitution.

Boluarte, who has the support of the president of the United States, Joe Bidenand is fluent in the Quechua language used by many protesters, has struggled to restore order to the volatile country.

In various parts of the country, the protesters who voted last year for the candidacy of Castillo and Boluarte have defied the state of emergency declared for 30 days and have taken to the streets to demand the immediate resignation of the president.

The death toll in protests rose to 26 on Monday after security forces tear-gassed thousands of artisanal miners who blocked the Pan-American Highway at two crucial points for more than a week, forcing truckers to discarding fish and food intended for sale that had gone bad. Hundreds of people have been injured.

If the legislators agree to advance the elections, in practice they would be leaving themselves without a job. The Peruvian constitution indicates that the 130 members of Congress can only serve one legislature.

Boluarte also faces pressure from other Latin American leftist leaders, led by the president of MexicoAndres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Ignoring the claims of the Peruvian authorities and others that he not interfere in internal affairs, López Obrador condemned the Peruvian conservative media and the country’s business sector for the classist and sometimes prejudiced portrayal they made of Castillo during his 17 months in office. .

On Monday he said that if the legislators refused to advance the elections and cling to power, and the president remains in office, “they are going to achieve everything with the use of force, with repression, because there is going to be a lot of suffering in the people and a lot of instability”.

The Mexican president reiterated his willingness to offer asylum to Castillo, who was intercepted by protesters and security forces as he tried to flee to the Mexican embassy in Lima after his failed attempt to shut down Congress.


Associated Press writers Joshua Goodman in Miami and Fabiola Sánchez in Mexico City contributed to this report.

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