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Political Instability in Peru

The checks and balances behind the Peruvian President’s order to dissolve the Congress and the Congress’ vote to dismiss the President disclose a deeply divided Peru.

Dec 12, 2022

On Dec. 7, Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced the dissolution of the Congress and the installation of an emergency government before the Congress met for the scheduled session in which they were to decide whether to impeach the president on corruption charges. The announcement was rejected by the police and armed forces, and led many public officers to turn in their resignations.
Two hours after Castillo’s announcement, the Congress voted to impeach him with one hundred and one votes in favor of his dismissal, six oppositions, and ten abstentions. The prosecutor’s office later ordered his arrest on charges of “rebellion.” Castillo was arrested on Wednesday evening.
Wednesday’s vote was the third attempt by the opposition to dismiss the president from office on the charges of him not being morally fit to be president. These claims are based on the fact that in less than a year and a half in office, Castillo named five different cabinets and faced six criminal investigations. In October 2021, the district attorney’s office presented a constitutional lawsuit against Castillo, accusing him of leading a criminal organization to profit from the state’s contracts.
Castillo comes from a rural background; he was born to parents who were illiterate farmers in an impoverished region. He appealed to voters last year under the slogan “No more poor people in a rich country,”and the promise to improve the country’s economy and fight against inequality. However, soon after assuming presidency, he became involved in various scandals, as he was accused of corruption, domestic violence, and murder. Castillo’s disapproval rate was around 60% right before he declared an emergency state on Wednesday.
Photo Credit to Jhonel Rodríguez Robles/Presidency of Peru/AFP
After Castillo’s dismissal, the former vice president, Dina Boluarte assumed the presidency, becoming the first female president of the country. Boluarte is from Apurímac, a majority Indigenous Quechua-speaking region. She worked for 15 years in the country’s national registry, and in 2021 she served as Castillo’s vice president. However, she quickly condemned Castillo’s announcement on Wednesday, calling it an attempt of coup d’état: “I reject Pedro Castillo’s decision to perpetrate the breakdown of the constitutional order with the closure of Congress. It is a coup.” In her speech when assuming the presidency, Boluarte called for the political forces in the country to be open to dialogue and union. She further declared to be “committed to fighting so that the nobodies, the excluded and the others can have the opportunities and access that have historically been denied them.”
These past years, Peru has experienced political instability as the country has had six presidents in the last four years. The political instability has only been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and international affairs with a direct impact on the country, such as the war in Ukraine, which has pushed inflation in the country to its highest in decades. According to an announcement made by the United Nations last year, Peru has the highest rates of food insecurity in South America. Castillo’s arrest is only the end of his presidency, and President Boluarte also faces many challenges, the first being governing a deeply divided country.
Scarlette Jimenez is News Editor. Email her at
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