Tuesday, February 7, 2023

New Peru president sworn in, predecessor Castillo arrested

New Peru president sworn in, predecessor Castillo arrested

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru swore in a new president after a day of political drama that saw leftist leader Pedro Castillo arrested after his ousting from office in an impeachment trial following his last-ditch bid to cling to power by dissolving Congress.

Ignoring Castillo's attempt to shut down the legislature by decree, lawmakers moved ahead with a previously planned impeachment trial, with 101 votes in favor of removing him, six against and 10 abstentions.

The result was announced to loud cheers, and the legislature called on Vice President Dina Boluarte to take office.

The 60-year-old Boluarte was sworn in as president through 2026, making her the first woman to lead Peru. She called for a political truce after months of instability, including two prior impeachment attempts, and said a new cabinet inclusive of all political stripes would be formed.

She lambasted Castillo's move to dissolve Congress as an "attempted coup."

The public ministry said on Wednesday evening that Castillo had been detained and accused of the crimes of "rebellion" and "conspiracy" for breaking the constitutional order.

Television outlets showed Castillo leaving a police station and reported he would be moved to a police-run prison.

Castillo earlier had said he would temporarily shut down Congress, launch a "government of exception," and call for new legislative elections.

That sparked resignations by his ministers amid angry accusations from both opposition politicians and his allies that he was attempting a coup. The police and armed forces warned him that the route he had taken to try to dissolve Congress was unconstitutional and the police said they had "intervened" to fulfill their duties.

Some small street protests took place. In Lima, dozens of people waving Peruvian flags cheered Castillo's downfall, while elsewhere in the capital and in the city of Arequipa his supporters marched and clashed with police. One held a sign saying: "Pedro, the people are with you."

Dozens of police officers with shields and plastic helmets were deployed around the Government Palace and Congress in Lima, which were surrounded by metal barricades.