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Peruvian president in police custody, replaced after attempting to dissolve legislature

Peru has seen a rapid succession of leaders in the past few years.

Published: December 7, 2022 3:40pm

Updated: December 7, 2022 4:09pm

Left-wing Peruvian President Pedro Castillo has been ousted from power and is in police custody, following a botched attempt to dissolve congress in a move lawmakers described as a "coup."

The Peruvian Congress voted 101-6 to replace Castillo with his vice president, Dina Boluarte, on grounds of "permanent moral incapacity," according to the Associated Press.

Peru's legislature has the legal authority to remove the president and the act is "technically, not a coup" as one political scientist told the outlet. Castillo came to power in 2021, following an extremely tight election against conservative candidate Keiko Fujimori, the eldest daughter of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori. 

His successor, Boluarte, is the first women to assume the top job in the country. Prior to Castillo's ouster, she openly denounced his attempt to dissolve congress, saying the effort "worsens the political and institutional crisis that Peruvian society will have to overcome with strict adherence to the law."

Castillo's immediate status is unclear, though he left the congress and was escorted to a police station where he has been observed surrounded by law enforcement. It is not known if he has been formally arrested.

The president's ouster may prove unpopular outside of Lima. Opinion polling in November found Castillo with a 31% approval rating overall, compared with a 10% approval rating for the congress. Castillo, moreover, comes from an outlying farming community and has disproportionate support outside of the capital city, per the AP.

Peru has seen a rapid succession of leaders in the past few years. Boluarte will become the fourth new president since November 2020, when Martin Vizcarra left office.

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