When the Parliament of Peru removed Pedro Costillo as president and replaced him with Dina Boluarte, many, especially foreign governments, thought the Parliament took the right decision that would put an end to the years of political instability in the South American country. Little did they know that the decision would lead to more instability and an uncertain political future.
After over a week of Costillo’s impeachment, the calls for a general election have lingered and the latest Peruvian to bow to the pressure is the current President and former vice president Dina Boluarte.
“Don’t be blind,” Boluarte said while referring to opinion polls that show that 80 percent of citizens favour a general election for president and Congress. “Look at the people and take action in line with what they are asking. I demand that the vote to bring elections up be reconsidered.”
Last week, President Pedro Costillo was impeached after he attempted to use his emergency powers to dissolve parliament. The opposite was the case after the members of parliament voted 101 – 6 to remove the president on the ground of “permanent moral incapacity.” His deputy, Dina Boluarte, was immediately sworn in. But after ten days in office, it appears that an early election is inevitable, cutting short her tenure that is supposed to last until 2026.
A parliament that refuses to go
Parliament refused to grant the request for an early election on Friday despite the unending calls for one. Hernando Guerra, the president of the legislative constitution commission, proposed that the 2026 election should be brought forward to 2023. After the votes of the day, Parliament failed to get the 87 votes needed to pass the proposal. 49 of them voted in favour, while 33 voted against it. 25 MPs were absent at the time of the vote.
The failure of parliament to pass the proposal led to Saturday’s plea by the President, asking the MPs to rethink their decision. However, at least two ministers resigned on Saturday in response to the deadly protests.
The worsening protests
The people of Peru have refused to take sides with any of the parties involved in the political saga. They have demanded the resignation of Costillo and the dissolution of Parliament. Costillo is gone and replaced with his deputy. However, the protesters are now demanding the resignation of Boluarte and an early election to select new MPs for the country’s parliament.
Since Boluarte’s swearing-in on December 7, the demonstrations have gone from bad to worse. At least 20 people have died, and at least 500 demonstrators and security officials have been injured. Interestingly, the demonstrators are also demanding the release of Castillo, who is currently in detention and facing charges of “rebellion and conspiracy.”
“We want the immediate closure of Congress; we want the resignation of Dina Boluarte,” Rene Mendoza, a protester, told Reuters. “Today the Peruvian people are in mourning … The whole of Peru is in a struggle.”
Protesters have vowed to remain on the streets until president Boluarte leaves office. Like the country’s parliament, the first female president had refused to vacate the seat.
I will not resign, Boluarte says
60-year-old Boluarte has refused to resign as president after just eight days in office. She told the legislators that it was time for a new election and not a time of political revenge.
“What is solved by my resignation?” she said, insisting that his resignation would only worsen the growing political instability and try to resolve the problems facing Peru, including the country’s worst drought in 25 years.
The president talked to the protesters, asking them what they stand to gain by burning offices, courts and police stations, closing highways, and trying to take over airports.
A world record of six presidents in six years
Peru is the only country that has managed to have six presidents in six years. They are probably the only country that has held such a record. Since 2016, Peru has had six presidents, an average of one president per year. Although the presidential term lasts for five years, the political instability and the battle for supremacy always force the country into a change of leadership.
With ten days in office, Boluarte is already facing pressure to resign, and it has been so for six years. If she bows to pressure and resign, Peru would have broken another record as the only country to have seven presidents in six years.