Dec 7, 2022 - World

Peru's president removed from office after attempting to dissolve Congress

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo sits with a small microphone in front of him

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo during a press conference in October. Photo: Carlos García Granthon/Fotohólica Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Peru's Congress voted to oust President Pedro Castillo in an impeachment trial on Wednesday, shortly after he attempted to dissolve the legislative body and install an emergency government.

The big picture: Wednesday's events deepen the political crisis in the country, which has seen six presidents in as many years amid corruption investigations and impeachments.

What happened: Castillo announced he was dissolving Congress as lawmakers debated whether to impeach him.

  • The president justified his decree by arguing Congress was overstepping its power.
  • Ignoring Catillo's announcement, lawmakers voted 101-6 to remove him from office and named Vice President Dina Boluarte as interim leader. Ten lawmakers abstained from the vote.

Catch up quick: Castillo had previously survived two other impeachment attempts.

  • He and his family are being investigated for allegedly taking bribes in exchange for government contracts.
  • Castillo's sister-in-law was temporarily jailed in August as part of the investigations, and Castillo, who denies wrongdoing, faces five more criminal cases, according to the attorney general's office.

Between the lines: Peru's national ombudsman’s office denounced Castillo’s move on Wednesday to dissolve Congress as an attempted coup, but Eduardo Gamarra, a professor at Florida International University, told AP that because the country's Congress can remove the president and the president has the ability to dissolve Congress, “technically, it is not a coup."

  • “The confusion is in the 15,000 interpretations that exist about who prevails, the Congress or the president,” he said.

Flashback: Peru's Congress has been dissolved before, most recently in 2019 by President Martín Vizcarra, who was eventually removed from office.

  • Peru's legislature was dissolved in April 1992 in an act infamously known as "the self-coup d'Etat" of Alberto Fujimori. Congressional leaders were put under house arrest.
  • Fujimori went on to entrench himself in power, staying until 2000, while his government carried out mass killings for which he is now serving life sentences.
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