The legislative Congress of Peru voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday — 101-6, with 10 abstentions — to impeach and remove the nation’s leftist socialist President Pedro Castillo on account of his “permanent moral incapacity,” the Daily Wire reported.
That shocking vote came as a swift response to Castillo’s threats just hours earlier that he would dissolve the Congress, impose a national curfew and confiscate civilian firearms, and rule by dictatorial decree until a new constitution could be written and new legislature installed.
Castillo was then immediately replaced by Congress with his vice president, Dina Boluarte — now the first female president of Peru — who had critically distanced herself from the ex-president’s attempted “coup d’etat” with a statement that said, “I reject Pedro Castillo’s decision to break the constitutional order by closing the congress.”
Impeached and removed
According to the Associated Press, Castillo was subsequently arrested after being impeached and removed and was charged by federal prosecutors with attempting to stage a rebellion against the nation’s constitutional order.
The prosecutors said in a statement, “We condemn the violation of constitutional order,” and added, “Peru’s political constitution enshrines the separation of powers and establishes that Peru is a democratic and sovereign Republic … No authority can put itself above the Constitution and must comply with constitutional mandates.”
After Castillo’s announced intent to dissolve Congress and seize total power, ostensibly only for a brief period, but before the impeachment vote, numerous top officials in his administration and the Peruvian military had resigned in protest of his unconstitutional plans.
In fact, Peru’s independent and nonpartisan Ombudsman’s Office had decried Castillo’s announced plans as something “that can’t be called anything but a coup” and had demanded that he turn himself over to judicial authorities to face accountability.
No support for Castillo from the military or police
The Washington Post reported that Peru’s Congress, which had already previously twice tried and failed to impeach Castillo, had been scheduled to debate the third attempt at impeachment on Wednesday when Castillo issued his threats, which apparently sufficed to convince Congress to skip the formalities of a debate and trial and move straight to a removal vote.
Those multiple attempts at impeachment had come in response to the fact that Castillo is the subject of multiple ongoing investigations by federal prosecutors into alleged corruption by him and members of his family.
One major factor in Castillo’s sudden downfall, per the Post, is the fact that Peru’s military and National Police refused to go along with his announced plans to discard Congress and the Constitution, which the Joint Command of the Armed Forces called “contrary to the established constitutional order” and insisted would be met with “nonacceptance by the Armed Forces and the Police.”
Peru has a major problem with political corruption
CNN reported that there are at least five criminal investigations into Castillo and his family that relate to allegations that they were using their positions to run a “criminal network” engaged in influence peddling and money laundering, with the former president himself standing accused of accepting bribes and selling positions in the nation’s government bureaucracy and military.
Of course, they all have proclaimed their complete innocence and have insisted that they’ve been purposefully targeted and smeared by their political opposition.
Meanwhile, the outlet also noted that newly sworn-in President Boluarte is the politically unstable Peru’s sixth president in less than five years.
According to the AP, though Castillo is the first Peruvian president to be actively investigated while still in office, virtually all of his predecessors going back several decades have at the very least been investigated, if not in some cases charged and even convicted and imprisoned, for acts of public corruption, and Boluarte herself, per CNN, had previously been subject to investigation, though the probe was dismissed just days ago.