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Peru’s new president rules out elections, predecessor Castillo remains in custody | CNN




CNN

Peru’s new president, Dina Boluarte, ruled out early elections on Thursday, her first day in office after the dramatic ouster and arrest of her predecessor Pedro Castillo.

Boluarte became Peru’s first female president on Wednesday after lawmakers challenged Castillo, who in a fight for her political survival had tried to dissolve Congress earlier that day and call snap elections ahead of a third impeachment trial against her. .

Peruvian lawmakers described the move as a coup and a majority of the 130-member congress voted to remove Castillo on Wednesday. The former president was subsequently arrested for the alleged crime of rebellion, according to the country’s Attorney General’s Office.

CNN has reached out to Castillo’s defense team for comment on the allegations.

During a virtual hearing on Thursday, where Peru’s Supreme Court reviewed the prosecutor’s arrest request, Castillo’s defense denied accusations of rebellion and conspiracy against the president.

Prosecutor Marco Huamán also said that the Public Ministry considered Castillo a flight risk, alleging that the former president was traveling with his family to the Mexican Embassy at the time of his arrest on Wednesday.

Castillo’s defense rejected the accusations and dismissed the suggestion that Castillo tried to flee the country.

The court has ordered seven days of preliminary detention of Castillo, who, according to the Attorney General’s Office, is being held by the police.

Calls for early elections have been on the rise among political parties and analysts since Wednesday’s tumultuous series of events, as a way to fix the political dysfunction in Peru, which has now seen six presidents in less than five years.

But Boluarte said Thursday that he needed some time.

“I know that there are some voices that indicate early elections and that is democratically respectable. I think that the assumption of the Presidency on this occasion is a bit of a reorientation of what should be done with the country,” Boluarte told reporters on Thursday, adding that he will then look for “alternatives to better reorient the country’s destinies.” .”

His ascendancy may not necessarily alleviate Peru’s toxic and embittered political landscape, as Boluarte needs to garner cross-party support in order to govern.

Many Peruvians have been calling for a change in the political guard, according to a September poll by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP), which found that 60% of those polled support early elections to renew both the presidency and Congress.

On Wednesday, in her first speech as President, Boluarte called for a “political truce to install a government of national unity” and said that she will fight corruption with the support of the Attorney General’s Office and the country’s Comptroller’s Office.

“My first task is to fight corruption, in all its forms,” Boluarte said. “I have seen with revulsion how the press and judicial bodies have denounced shameful acts of robbery against the money of all Peruvians, this cancer must be removed.”

His predecessor, Castillo, had been immersed in multiple investigations into whether he used his position for the benefit of himself, his family and his closest allies through influence peddling to obtain favors or preferential treatment, among other allegations.

Castillo has repeatedly denied all the allegations and reiterated his willingness to cooperate with any investigation. He argues that the accusations are the result of a witch hunt against him and his family by groups that did not accept his electoral victory.

His arrest marks a humiliating decline in Castillo’s short political career. The former teacher and union leader emerged from obscurity to be elected in July 2021 by a narrow margin in a runoff. and he was seen as part of a “pink tide” of new leftist leaders in Latin America.

He ran on a platform that promised to rewrite the constitution and increase wealth redistribution by giving states greater control over markets and natural resources, promises he has struggled to keep amid Peru’s soaring inflation, lack of of political experience and a strong conservative opposition in Congress.



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