Peru’s new president calls for elections as Castillo speaks out

Peru’s new President Dina Boluarte has proposed bringing general elections forward two years to April 2024, during a televised speech delivered early on Monday morning amid ongoing protests throughout the country.

“Interpreting the will of the citizens… I have decided to take the initiative to reach an agreement with the Congress of the Republic to advance general elections to the month of April of 2024,” Boluarte said in the televised address.

Boluarte became Peru’s first female president last week after lawmakers removed her predecessor, Pedro Castillo.

She initially ruled out early elections last week, but protests calling for political change have ensued around the country, leaving at least two people dead and prompting the United Nations Human Rights Office to air its concern about escalated tensions.

“With violence increasing as protests continue in Peru, we are deeply concerned that the situation may escalate further,” its spokesperson, Marta Hurtado, said. “Given the number of protests, including strikes, planned for this week, we call on all involved to exercise restraint.

Since last week, protests erupted in cities across the country in support of Castillo, who is currently under a seven-day preliminary arrest ordered by Peru’s Supreme Court and has not accepted his removal, calling Boluarte a “usurper.”

Demonstrators have called for another general election, the dissolution of Congress, and the creation of a new constituent assembly, according to the radio and television broadcaster, Radio Programas del Perú.

On Saturday, protesters also demonstrated in the city of Andahuaylas, which left at least 20 people injured, including four police officers, according to Peru’s Ombudsman’s Office.

Peru’s Ministry of Health said on Sunday evening that two people had died and three hospitalised in the Apurímac region, where Andahuaylas Province is located, as a result of the protests.

Castillo on Monday insisted that he was still Peru’s President, according to a series of tweets posted on his Twitter account. He was impeached for attempting to dissolve the nation’s Congress and for calling for new elections.

“I am unconditionally faithful to the popular and constitutional mandate that I hold as President, and I WILL NOT RESIGN OR ABANDON MY HIGH AND SACRED FUNCTIONS,” a portion of the message read.

Castillo also claimed that he had been “kidnapped,” as well as “humiliated” and “mistreated, “and called for his own release, according to a handwritten letter he wrote which was also posted to his account on Monday.

Castillo’s lawyer, Ronald Atencio, has verified the authenticity of the letter and the tweets to CNN. The tweets were authorised by the former president to be written on his behalf.  -CNN

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