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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Peru’s President Renews Call for Elections This Year to Bring End to Protests

Peru’s President Renews Call for Elections This Year to Bring End to Protests – Peruvian President Dina Boluarte has urged Congress to schedule early elections to resolve the ongoing protests that have resulted in fatalities. If Congress fails to act, Boluarte will consider constitutional reform to enforce a vote. The South American nation has faced a political turmoil with frequent demonstrations since December 7th, when former President Pedro Castillo was arrested for attempting to abolish Congress and govern by decree.

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In the last 7 weeks of protests, the ombudsman’s office in Peru reported 48 fatalities due to conflict between security forces and demonstrators. Despite lawmakers rescheduling the 2026 elections to April 2024, Boluarte requested they be held earlier due to ongoing protests. Last Friday, she urged Congress to hold the elections even sooner. The proposal was rejected at a plenary session that ended Saturday with 45 votes for, 65 against, and 2 abstentions.

The legislative body will meet Monday to talk about the election schedule. Boluarte stated that if legislators decline to move up the election, she’ll suggest a constitutional change, so the first round of elections can occur in October with a runoff in December. Protesters demand prompt elections, Boluarte’s departure, the end of Congress, and a revised constitution. “Nobody has any interest in clinging to power,” Boluarte said on Friday. “If I am here it is because I fulfilled my constitutional responsibility.”

On Saturday, protesters wearing hoods and armed with shields, stones, and pieces of cement clashed with police in Lima amid tear gas, leading to the city’s first protest-related death. Castillo supporters have disrupted highways in recent weeks, causing shortages of basic necessities such as food and fuel. The main source of the unrest is poor Indigenous communities from southern Peru who view Castillo, an Indigenous individual from the same region, as a champion for ending poverty, racism, and inequality they experience.


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