Updated Dec 12, 2022 - World

Peru's new president proposes early elections amid deadly protests

Supporters of ex-President Pedro Castillo take cover from police tear gas during clashes in Lima, on December 11.

Supporters of former President Pedro Castillo take cover from police tear gas thrown in Lima on Sunday. Photo: Ernesto Benavides/AFP via Getty Images

Peru authorities confirmed two deaths during ongoing protests demanding fresh elections and the resignation of new President Dina Boluarte, as thousands of demonstrators were reported on streets across the country Sunday.

The latest: Boluarte responded to the calls by announcing in a televised address a proposal for Congress to bring forward the next general elections to April 2024, per AP.

  • "My duty as president of the republic in the current difficult time is to interpret, read and collect the aspirations, interests and concerns, if not of all, of the vast majority of Peruvians," Boluarte said, according to AP.
  • "So, interpreting in the broadest way the will of the citizens... I have decided to assume the initiative to reach an agreement with the congress of the republic to advance the general elections."

Context: The 60-year-old former vice president was sworn in last Wednesday until 2026 — when the presidency of her impeached predecessor, Pedro Castillo, was due to end.

The big picture: AP reports police and protesters clashed in Lima as hundreds demonstrated there, with many calling for the release of Castillo, who was arrested on charges of rebellion after he said he was dissolving Congress ahead of his impeachment vote.

  • There have been tense scenes in rural areas that are strongholds of the 53-year-old left-wing former schoolteacher Castillo, who is from a poor Andean mountain district.

Zoom in: Eliana Revollar, head of Peru's ombudsman's office, told local radio station RPP that a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old died in clashes with police in the southern city of Andahuaylas, "possibly as a result of gunshot wounds," according to Reuters.

  • The Andahuaylas airport in the Andean region in southern Peru was closed due to unrest that began Saturday afternoon, which authorities said experienced fires and other vandalism, per the BBC.

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

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