Peru: Congress has convened it and another critical week begins for President Pedro Castillo

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Convulsive Peruvian politics will experience an explosive week starting this Monday, from which, potentially, a president could even emerge to replace Pedro Castillo, against which a motion for vacancy will be voted (removal) in Congress.

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Cross rumors of coup attemptsall without evidence, they had been circulating intensely since Saturday, following the resignation of Defense Minister Daniel Barragán, about whose role in the situation there are contradictory speculations.

“I ratify my commitment to democracy, the rule of law and the Constitution, e I reject deeply that my government is planning to shut down Congress to avoid a vacancy,” Castillo wrote on Twitter to counter such speculation.

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Castillo, a rural leftist professor with no political party, is due to appear before Congress on Wednesday to defend himself in a trial he seeks to remove him for “permanent moral incapacity”.

still no votes

The 53-year-old president tried to squash the session by claiming the motion was “incomplete,” but Congress, controlled by three radical right-wing parties, rejected that attitude and insisted on the presentation, which a vote will precede which could happen soon after.

If 87 of 130 members of Congress vote for the vacancy, Castillo he will have to give way to the vice president, Dina Boluartewhose stay as head of state could also be short: a process is underway to suspend her from public office.

In that second hypothetical scenario, the fall of Boluarte, the President of Congress would go to the Government House, José Williams, retired army general who is a member of Avanza Paísone of three right-wing parties leading the offensive from the legislature.

The case of the vice-president will be seen precisely tomorrow, when an opinion on her situation will be discussed. The first in line of succession wants to be suspended, by her opponents, for continuing to preside over a private club when he was a minister.

Until today it was difficult to determine if the 87 votes will be reached: “I wish there were, but, honestly, I doubt about it“, admitted the constitutionalist Domingo García Belaunde, an active adviser to the Congress of the far-right forces seeking the departure of the president.

The key word will be the 37 deputies elected last year by Castillo’s then party, the Marxist-Leninist Peru Libre (PL), and which are now spread out in four groupssome of them critical of government management.

The doubts were resolved after four of those deputies, including Waldemar Cerrón, the most prominent face of PL in Congress, signed the motion of censure, although one of them, Flavio Cruz, immediately clarified that that doesn’t mean he will say “yes” when voting.

If what was the ruling party remains in the “no” vote, together with the five deputies of the left-wing party Juntos por el Perú and other possible allies, it will be mathematically impossible for the motion to thrivewith what would be the third time an attempt like that has failed.

In this context, the press speaks of alleged negotiations between Castillo and his former bench and even underlines that the president is willing to sacrifice, as a patch in exchange for support, to his ministerial chief of staff, Betssy Chávezformer PL militant who has strong contrasts not only with the right, but also with his former colleagues.


In this context, the resignation of Barragán from the Ministry of Defense for “strictly personal reasons” made Peru this weekend a jar of speculation, in which the words “coup d’état” resonate, without the situation being clear.

Two former heads of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, Jorge Montoya and José Cueto, now deputies of the ultraconservative Renovación Popular party, They claimed there were government explorations among the military to force the institutional situation, which Barragán allegedly opposed.

On the contrary, other press versions indicate, even without proof, that the outgoing, retired air force officer close to the ultranationalist leader Antauro Humala, he was in favor of harder exits.

If Castillo passes a vacancy process again, Congress prepares other political ammunition to shoot him, of which the first, which has already taken action in the Constitutional Commission, would be the possibility of suspending it in the context of the complaints against him.

A) Yes, 66 votes, a more clearly achievable figure, would be enough to suspend the president for a certain period while a legal proceeding is pending.

The apparently stronger complaint, presented by the Public Prosecutor’s Office for alleged corruption, collides with the fact that, by Constitution, an incumbent president can only be prosecuted for treason or obstruction of elections. Opponents try to jump that fence through constitutional interpretations.

“Try shortcuts that involve interpretations of the Constitution trying to achieve the same goal, but generating very serious tensions in our democratic order, could be very harmful for democracy and the future of the country’s governance”, warned the general secretary of the Transparencia civil organization, Iván Lanegra.

Several analysts, including opponents, have warned of some popular reactions if members of Congress violate the procedures. According to polls, even though Castillo barely borders 30% of the popular consensus, which triples the figures of a Legislature that does not reach 10% of votes.

The situation could be potentially complicated, according to analysts such as Carlos Monge, if deputies intend to remove Castillo, but remain in office until the end of the mandate in 2026.

For now, an opinion that seeks to bring forward the general election for 2023 this week it passed the filter of the Constitutional Commission.

According to polls, these elections could be the solution with the greatest popular consensus, even if many analysts, such as Laura Arroyo, have anticipated that with the current political class it is delusional to think that there is an improvement.

Castillo has been in the opposition’s sights since taking office in July 2021, but now looks like his toughest time. Boluarte, who at one point said that he will not assume the presidency in the event of a vacancy, is now silent and distances himself from the president.

Telam Agency


Source: Clarin

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