Updated Dec 8, 2022 - World

Dina Boluarte becomes Peru's 1st woman president as Castillo arrested

Vice President Dina Boluarte swears in as Peru's new leader on Wednesday.

Dina Boluarte swears in as Peru's new president in Lima on Wednesday. Photo: Congress of Republic of Peru/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Dina Boluarte was sworn in as Peru's first woman president on Wednesday — hours after her predecessor Pedro Castillo was arrested following his ouster from office in an impeachment trial, per AP.

State of play: Peru's Public Ministry said in a statement Castillo is being investigated for the crimes of "rebellion" and "conspiracy" in breach of the constitutional order after he announced he was dissolving Congress as lawmakers debated whether to impeach him.

  • Congressional members voted to remove Castillo from office. The left-wing former school teacher denies any wrongdoing.
  • "The National Prosecutor's Office has been carrying out simultaneous operations ... to gather elements of conviction regarding the ongoing investigation of former President Pedro Castillo for the alleged crime of rebellion," the Public Ministry tweeted late Wednesday.

Of note: Boluarte, 60, who was until Wednesday Peru's vice president, was sworn in until 2026, when Castillo's presidency was due to end.

The big picture: The dramatic turn of events deepens the political crisis in the country.

What they're saying: Boluarte described Castillo's efforts to dissolve Congress as an "attempted coup," as she called for a political truce to end months of turmoil, Reuters reports.

  • U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a a press briefing Wednesday the United States "will continue to stand against and categorically reject any acts that contradict Peru's constitutions ... any act that undermines democracy in that country."

Meanwhile, Castillo said investigations into whether he and his family took bribes in exchange for government contracts were the result of "slander" by political rivals seeking to "take advantage and seize the power that the people took from them at the polls," according to Reuters.

What to watch: Boluarte will have to do a balancing act with Congress, as opposition lawmakers may grow to resent her having once had ties to Castillo as his vice president, said Noam Lupu, associate professor at Vanderbilt University.

  • Boluarte spoke during her inaugural address of building national unity, likely signaling to congressional leaders they can negotiate and work together more than they ever did with Castillo, Lupu told Axios.
  • But "if that fails, I could imagine Congress coming up with grounds for impeaching her as well," Lupu added.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional details throughout.

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