Was former Peru President Pedro Castillo impeached? What happened - and who is new female leader Dina Boluarte
Political chaos reigned in Peru as leader Pedro Castillo was removed from power, with the country swearing in its first female president
Peruvian president Pedro Castillo has been impeached and removed from office. The leftist leader was arrested and ousted from power amid political chaos in the country.
His arrest comes after he lost an impeachment trial. Castillo had previously tried to cling to power by dissolving Congress. While Castillo was ousted, the country made a historical step to swear in new leader Dina Boluarte. Boluarte is Peru’s first female president.
Instability shrouded Castillo’s final months in power. He had been accused of an “attempted coup” and allegedly broke the constitutional order. But what happened in the run up to his impeachment and who is the new Peruvian leader? Here’s everything you need to know.
What happened in Peru?
The situation kicked off after Castillo moved to dissolve Congress on 7 December. He gave a public address on national television in which he declared a state of emergency in Peru.
The leftist leader was hoping to cling onto power by doing so. Along with the declaration of a state of emergency, he publicly announced that he was dissolving parliament, which is currently opposition-controlled.
The political turmoil and drastic move led to the resignation of many senior members of the government. It also garnered international criticism, with the US “strongly urging” Castillo to reverse the decision.
He made the move to dissolve parliament hours before a new impeachment trial was set to begin against him. This was his third impeachment trial since he came to power in July 2021.
His newest impeachment charge came as the opposition accused him of attempting to rule by decree. Castillo’s attempted dissolution of Congress and introduction of emergency power to call a new election was branded a “coup d’etat” by those opposed to him.
The Congress quickly arranged an impeachment trial shortly after the announcement was made by Castillo. This passed with 101 votes in favour, six against and 10 abstentions.
Shortly after the impeachment trial concluded, Castillo was arrested while he travelled to the Mexican embassy to seek asylum. He was charged with ”rebellion” and “conspiracy” in breaking the constitutional order, with federal prosecutors saying: “Peru’s political constitution enshrines the separation of powers and establishes that Peru is a democratic and sovereign Republic … No authority can put itself above the Constitution and must comply with constitutional mandates.”
After a dramatic political day in Peru, the country swore in vice president Dina Boluarte as the new leader. The move was history-making, with Boluarte now the first female president of Peru.
Protesters took to the streets of Lima and other cities. Some were in support of Castillo, while others backed the removal of the former president from office.
Who is Pedro Castillo?
Castillo, 53, first came to power in July 2021. A former school teacher, he made the move into politics after becoming a key figure in Peru’s 2017 school teachers’ strike.
He ran for president as part of the Free Peru party, gaining support from rural areas. Castillo succeeded in the 2021 presidential election, defeating opponent Keiko Fujimori in the second round of voting. He was inaugurated on 28 July 2021.
Castillo’s time in government was unstable and he became the first Peruvian president to appoint four separate governments during his time in power. He also battled accusations of corruption and many investigations were launched into these accusations during his time in power, culminating in the third and final impeachment trial.
Who is Dina Boluarte?
Boluarte, 60, served as Peru’s vice-president up until her historic appointment as president following Castillo’s downfall. She had campaigned as Castillo’s running mate in the 2021 election, in which they were ultimately successful.
Boluarte, a former lawyer, was also a member of the left-wing Free Peru party. However, the party expelled her in January 2022 after she told Peruvian newspaper La Republica that she did not line up with the party’s ideology. She has since been independent.
While she ran with Castillo during the 2021 election, Boluarte was one of the prominent figures to condemn his attempted “coup”. She branded the move as a “breakdown of constitutional order” before being sworn in as president soon after.