The death toll has risen to 7, the number of victims of the protests that began in Peru after the country’s president, Pedro Castillo, was removed from office on December 7 and imprisoned.
Thousands of people gathered south of the capital, Lima, demanded the resignation of the new president, Dina Boulart.
Local sources reported that a number of journalists were injured while covering the demonstrations.
And yesterday, Monday, the new President of Peru responded to the demands of the protesters, and announced in a televised speech that she would send to Congress a proposal to hold early elections.
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Her announcement came a day after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets, demanding her resignation and setting a date for elections to choose a new president and Congress.
Boulart said she would propose setting April 2024 as the date for elections, marking a reversal of her insistence on completing the term of her isolated predecessor, which extended until 2026.
She added, “My duty as President of the Republic in the current difficult times is to interpret, read and collect the aspirations, interests and concerns of the vast majority, if not all, of Peruvians.”
And she continued, “So, I decided to take the initiative to reach an agreement with Congress to move forward with the general elections.”
Boulart announced her unwillingness to call for early presidential elections and an attempt to overcome the political failures of her predecessor, in her first press conference held Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
She said she should be allowed to serve as the country’s president for 3 and a half years, which is the remainder of Castillo’s term.
“I know there are voices calling for early elections. This is democracy, but there is a need for stability in Peru,” she added.
Peru suffered years of polarization, with 6 successive presidents in 6 years.
It is noteworthy that, after taking the constitutional oath, on Wednesday, Boulart called for a truce with the lawmakers who sacked Castillo on the grounds of the constitutional clause “moral incapacitation.”
Analysts believe that this clause in the Peruvian constitution is “so vague that it allows the dismissal of a president for almost any reason,” and indicated that it was used to overthrow President Martin Vizcarra, who ruled between 2018-2020.
The Peruvian authorities sent Castillo to prison after he was dismissed by parliament in a constitutional crisis in the country.
And last Wednesday, the security forces arrested Castillo, following his decision to dissolve the Legislative Council (parliament) and declare a state of emergency before the parliament held a third session to vote on his impeachment.
Peru’s parliament, which is dominated by the right-wing opposition, approved the impeachment of left-wing President Pedro Castillo, ignoring his decision to dissolve parliament.
And 101 out of 130 deputies agreed to dismiss the president in a live televised session, following Castillo’s announcement to dissolve parliament and impose a state of emergency in the country.
Castillo had previously survived two other proposals to impeach him in Parliament, the last of which was in March 2022, on charges of “moral incapacity”.