Peruvian Congress refuses to bring forward elections, and two Boluarte ministers resign amid crackdown on protests

Peru’s Congress on Friday rejected a constitutional reform to allow general elections to go ahead at the end of 2023, an initiative proposed by the president Dina Bolarteamid violent protests and after the resignation of two government ministers.

The legislator did not obtain the necessary votes for the reform, which required a minimum of 66 votes and gave rise to a referendum that verified adhesion to the elections, or at least 87 votes to be able to approve it with the same number in favor in a second vote of the next legislature.

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The vote was 49 in favour, 33 against and 25 abstentions for the initiative which proposed holding elections in December next year, shortening Boluarte’s mandate until mid-2026, one of the main demands of the protests in the Andean country which they left at least 16 dead.

Boluarte assumed power following the removal and arrest of the former president Peter Castillowho attempted to dissolve Congress and illegally reorganize the judiciary.

Some lawmakers said the proposal to bring forward the elections was rejected because members of the left, who support Castillo, wanted to include in the initiative considerations of the creation of a constituent assembly in addition to the elections.

“Congress has turned its back on the people,” he told reporters Susan Paredesa leftist legislator who does not support the former president and who voted in favor of reform.

first resignation

The education minister and culture minister announced their resignations on Twitter, the first resignations in the cabinet, as roadblocks continued on Friday and the closure of some airports in Peru’s Andean regions.

“The death of compatriots has no justification. State violence cannot be disproportionate and cause death,” said the now former education minister, Patricia Correaposting his resignation on social media.

The head of the ombudsman’s office, Eliana Revollarit said the highest death toll occurred on Thursday with the deaths of eight people after clashes between police and the army with protesters in the Andean region of Ayacucho, in the midst of an attempt to take over the city’s airport.

“We have a painful record that could reach two dozen (deceased) people” during the protests, Revollar said, in an interview with local radio station RPP.

The official said that in the Ayacucho protests, protesters set fire to the premises of the judiciary and prosecutor’s office, and members of the security forces used their weapons to repel attacks on the airport and government offices. .

“We have filed a criminal complaint with the criminal human rights prosecutors of Huamanga (Ayacucho), so that we can determine responsibility for the serious violations that have affected the lives and integrity of people,” the defender’s office said. civic in a statement. .

The Joint Armed Forces Command said in a statement that during Thursday’s riots in Ayacucho, an army patrol was “attacked by a mob with blunt objects, explosives and hand-made firearms.”

Then the patrol applied the “legally established” force without specifying whether the soldiers used firearms.

“All Gone Crazy”

The protests have not stopped despite the government of President Boluarte having decreed a national “state of emergency” and handed over control of public order to the Armed Forces. A night curfew was ordered late Thursday evening in 15 provinces, largely in regions with the most unrest, in another attempt to defuse the conflicts.

Protesters are calling for early elections, the closure of Congress, a constituent assembly, the release of former president Castillo and the resignation of Boluarte.

The Peruvian judicial system on Thursday ordered an 18-month pretrial detention for former President Castillo as he faces investigation for “rebellion and conspiracy” after he attempted to dissolve Congress and reorganize the judiciary illegally.

Castillo, a primary school teacher who surprisingly won the election by a narrow margin with the support of the country’s poorest regions, denied the allegations.

The former president will be relocated within the police base, where he is being held, in a small prison specially built years ago for the former president. Albert Fujimoriconvicted of human rights violations and corruption.

Transport authorities said on Friday that blockades in the north of the country had been cleared, but several sections of the main coastal highway in the south of the country remained closed, with dozens of freight vehicles stranded.

The protests have led to the closure of tourist sites in Peru, such as the Inca citadel of Macchu Picchu, and hundreds of visitors have been reported to be stranded.

sonia watches, a Norwegian tourist, said on Thursday she arrived in Peru four days ago and “it all freaked out”. “There’s rubbish in the streets and people protesting and car horns everywhere. I’m not really sure what’s going on, they don’t tell us much and it’s all in Spanish and I’m having a hard time understanding it,” she said.

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