Dina Boluarte became Peru’s first female President on Wednesday, capping off a dramatic day which saw her predecessor arrested for the alleged crime of rebellion and impeached by lawmakers.
Boluarte, the country’s former vice president, was sworn into the top job at Congress to become Peru’s sixth President in under five years.
The ceremony took place hours after a majority of 101 members in the 130-person legislative body voted to impeach former leader Pedro Castillo.
The tumultuous day began when then-President Castillo announced plans to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government, ahead of a looming impeachment vote by lawmakers, which Peru’s Ombudsman described as an “attempted coup d’état.”
He also called for parliamentary elections to work on a new constitution.
The move prompted a string of cabinet resignations, fiery reactions from top officials and condemnation from regional neighbors – and ultimately failed to prevent his impeachment in Congress.
Peruvian armed forces rejected Castillo’s attempt to sideline lawmakers, calling it an “infringement of the constitution.”
And Boluarte herself criticized Castillo’s dissolution plan, describing it on Twitter as “a coup that aggravates the political and institutional crisis that Peruvian society will have to overcome with strict adherence to the law.”
International officials joined the chorus of condemnations of Castillo, with the United States urging the leader to “reverse” the move and “allow Peru’s democratic institutions to function according to the Constitution,” US Ambassador in Peru Lisa Kenna said on Twitter.
“We will continue to stand against and to categorically reject any acts that contradict Peru’s constitution, any act that undermines democracy in that country,” said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price in a statement.
Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “deep concern” over Peru’s political crisis in a statement on Twitter, and Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Castillo’s actions were “incompatible with the constitutional framework of that country, [and] represent a violation of democracy and the rule of law.”
In a stunning turn of events, Castillo was detained by police in the capital city Lima after lawmakers impeached him in Congress.
Images shared from the prefecture showed the former President, wearing a blue jacket, sat around a table while officials signed documents.
In a statement, the office of Peru’s Attorney General said Castillo had been arrested for the alleged crime of rebellion, “for violating the constitutional order.”
“We condemn the breach of the constitutional order,” Peru’s Attorney General, Patricia Benavides, said in a statement. “The Political Constitution of Peru enshrines the separation of powers and establishes that Peru is a democratic and sovereign republic … No authority can place itself above the Constitution and must comply with its constitutional mandates.”
CNN has reached out to Castillo’s defense team for comment regarding the allegations.
It is a humiliating end to Castillo’s brief time in office. The former schoolteacher and union leader rose from obscurity to be elected in July 2021 by a narrow margin in a runoff, and was seen as part of a “pink tide” of new left-wing leaders in Latin America.
He ran on a platform promising to rewrite the constitution and increase wealth redistribution by granting states greater control over markets and natural resources, pledges that he has struggled to deliver amid rising inflation in Peru, his lack of political experience and strong conservative opposition in Congress.
The government of the leftist leader had been mired in chaos since inauguration, with dozens of ministers appointed, replaced, fired or quitting their posts in little over a year – piling further pressure on him.
Castillo has railed against the opposition for trying to remove him from the first day he was in office. He has accused Benavides of orchestrating what he called a new form of “coup d’état” against him through her office’s investigations.
In October, Benavides filed a constitutional complaint against Castillo based on three of the six investigations her office had opened. The complaint allows Congress to carry out its own investigation against the former President.
There is a big article in there, so only an excerpt. What are the chances his followers start blaming the CIA?