LIMA: Peru’s Congress on Wednesday impeached President Pedro Castillo, sacking him as it ignored his decision to dissolve the legislature.

Facing his third impeachment attempt in almost 18 months of power, Castillo announced in a televised address to the nation that he was dissolving Congress and would rule by decree in what was criticised as a coup.

The former school tea­cher, who unexpectedly took power from Peru’s traditional political elite, has faced non-stop crises, with repeated cabinet reshuffles, multiple corruption investigations and protests since he was elected in July last year.

“This intolerable situation cannot continue,” the 53-year-old said, announcing he was “temporarily dissolving Congress... and installing an exceptional emergency government”.

Castillo said he would convene a new Congress “as soon as possible to draft a new Constitution within a period of no more than nine months”.

He added that until a new Congress is formed, the country would be “governed by decree law” and there will be a curfew between 10pm and 4am, Castillo added.

However, lawmakers defiantly gathered to debate the impeachment motion and approved it, with 101 votes out of a total of 130 lawmakers, in a session broadcast live on television.

House speaker Jose Williams Zapata had called for Castillo’s impeachment “due to moral incapacity” after the president tried to “dissolve Congress and impede its function in an unconstitutional manner”. The opposition-dominated Congress, which holds 80 seats, had needed 87 votes to pass the motion.

Castillo became the third president since 2018 to be sacked under the “moral incapacity” provision in the constitution.

Vice President Dina Boluarte wrote on Twitter that Castillo’s move was a “coup d’état that aggravates the political and institutional crisis” in the country.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2022

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