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Peruvian president impeached hours after trying to dissolve Congress

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced in a televised address Wednesday that he is dissolving Congress, imposing a curfew and calling for a new constitution to be written. Congress had scheduled an impeachment vote against Castillo hours before the president's announcement. Photo courtesy of President Castillo's Facebook page
Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced in a televised address Wednesday that he is dissolving Congress, imposing a curfew and calling for a new constitution to be written. Congress had scheduled an impeachment vote against Castillo hours before the president's announcement. Photo courtesy of President Castillo's Facebook page

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Peruvian President Pedro Castillo said in a public address he was dissolving Congress and imposing an emergency government to rule by decree hours before a scheduled vote Wednesday to impeach him.

Members of Congress moved forward on Wednesday, with a majority of 101 voting to impeach Castillo.

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At least seven cabinet members resigned after Castillo's public address, during which he announced plans "to establish a government of exception, to reestablish the rule of law and democracy to which effect the following measures are dictated: to dissolve Congress temporarily, to install a government of exceptional emergency, to call to the shortest term possible to elections for a new Congress with the ability to draft a new Constitution."

In his midnight TV address, Castillo also imposed a curfew starting Wednesday night and called for writing a new constitution as prosecutors investigate him for alleged corruption.

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Peru Foreign Minister Cesar Landa Arroyo tweeted his resignation over the president's attempt to dissolve Congress and accused Castillo of violating Peru's constitution.

"I strongly condemn this coup d'état and call on the international community to assist in the democratic re-establishment of democracy in Peru," Landa tweeted. "Castillo took this decision without my knowledge or support."

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Peru Attorney General Patricia Benavides filed a constitutional complaint against President Castillo based on evidence in three of the six investigations her office is conducting into Castillo. That lets Congress investigate and act on impeachment of Castillo under Peru's constitution.

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Castillo accuses Congress, controlled by parties opposed to him, of trying to undermine democracy by removing him from office.

According to the New York Times, constitutional lawyer Omar Cairo, who considered the impeachment vote illegal and has been sympathetic to Castillo's position, said, "Congress is still contemptible, but what Castillo has done is a manifest coup d'état."

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