Peru president asks Congress to advance elections amid deadly protests
Published : Saturday, 28 January, 2023 at 10:56 AM Count : 383
Embattled Peru President Dina Boluarte on Friday urged Congress to advance elections slated for April 2024 to December 2023 as protests against her leadership that have left dozens dead continue.
Peru has been embroiled in a political crisis with near-daily protests since December 7 when former president Pedro Castillo was arrested after attempting to dissolve parliament and rule by decree.
His supporters are demanding that Boluarte resign and call fresh elections.
Boluarte said she had asked her Cabinet to support the bill before it is taken up by Congress.
"We put this bill to advance elections to December 2023 to the ministers for consideration," said Boluarte during a ceremony at a military airport in Lima.
Congress previously voted on December 21 in favor of a Boluarte bill to bring forward elections from 2026 to 2024.
"Congress voted once and we are waiting for them to vote again. However, the protests continue. There are more roadblocks and violence," added Boluarte, describing the current political crisis as a "quagmire."
But protesters are demanding immediate elections, as well as Boluarte's removal, the dissolution of parliament and a new constitution.
In seven weeks of protests since Castillo's arrest, at least 46 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and protesters.
Some of the worst violence and highest death tolls have come when protesters tried to storm airports in the country's south.
Those southern regions with large indigenous populations have been the epicenter of the protest movement that has affected Peru's vital tourism industry.
As well as blocking dozens of roads and forcing the temporary closure of several airports, protesters have placed rocks on the train tracks that act as the only transport access to Machu Picchu, the former Inca citadel and jewel of Peruvian tourism.
That resulted in hundreds of tourists being left stranded at the archeological ruins and many of them were evacuated by helicopter.