Peru dispatch: sudden political crisis puts a woman in the presidency as her predecessor faces prosecution Dispatches
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Peru dispatch: sudden political crisis puts a woman in the presidency as her predecessor faces prosecution

Anjana Meza is a JURIST Staff Correspondent in Lima, and a law student in the Facultad de Derecho, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.

Today, two important events occurred in Peru. First, President Pedro Castillo decided to dissolve Peruvian Congress and, second, Pedro Castillo was vacated [i.e. removed] by the Peruvian Congress and Dina Boluarte, the Vice President, has just assumed the presidency and she became the first woman to assume the position of president of Peru.

Now, let’s dig into everything that happened.

A week ago, a new vacancy motion was presented in Congress against Pedro Castillo, using as a basis his alleged moral incapacity, and today, Friday, December 7, the members of Peruvian Congress were going to vote to decide whether or not to vacate Castillo. However, during the morning hours and prior to the meeting in Congress, news shocked the whole country. Pedro Castillo decided to temporarily dissolve Congress and call elections for new members of Congress.

This action violated the Peruvian constitutional order and was described by the Constitutional Court as a “coup d’état”, which plunged the country into a new political crisis. In addition to seeking to dissolve Congress, Pedro Castillo announced the reorganization of the justice system and a curfew throughout Peru.

As expected, this “coup d’état” could not be tolerated in a constitutional state of law like Peru and served as the ideal basis to justify Pedro Castillo’s moral incapacity. So Congress approved the vacancy motion for Pedro Castillo with 101 votes in favor. Consequently, all the measures that he had announced were rendered null and void, since they were dictated by a person who violated the Peruvian constitutional order.

After Pedro Castillo’s vacancy and removal, Congress summoned Dina Boluarte, who until then held the position of Vice President, and it was announced that Dina Boluarte would now be assuming the presidency of Peru, replacing Pedro Castillo.

This afternoon, Dina Boluarte went to Congress and was sworn in as the new president of Peru.

She has now become the first woman to assume the Peruvian presidency. It should be noted that her swearing-in as president was not safe from social criticism, as Dina Boluarte has also been involved in political scandals.

Nobody expected her to be the first woman president of Peru. Although she is not the ideal person to assume a position as important as that of the presidency of the republic, given her record and scandals, she turns out to be the person who, by constitutional mandate, must assume the presidency and this must be respected.

Finally, regarding Pedro Castillo, the Attorney General of the Republic of Peru, Daniel Soria, says that Pedro Castillo will now be accused of trying to dissolve Congress unconstitutionally and will be prosecuted for it, in accordance with article 117 of the Peruvian Constitution. According to former minister Carlos Ramón, Pedro Castillo would be punished by imprisonment for up to 35 years.

We hope that the situation will improve in the country soon, since some small demonstrations had already started in Peru, but after Dina Boluarte assumed the presidency, the situation began to calm down and it is expected that peace and stability will be restored in the coming days.