End of the Line

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Peruvian authorities detained President Pedro Castillo this week after the embattled leftist leader attempted to shutter parliament and rule by decree, the Guardian reported.

Castillo’s removal and detention came as he faced an impeachment vote from lawmakers Wednesday. The president had earlier announced that he would temporarily shut congress, launch a “government of exception” to rule by decree and call for new legislative elections.

He also ordered a night-time curfew and the restructuring of the judiciary and prosecutor’s office, which is investigating him for alleged corruption and influence peddling – allegations which he denies.

But his countermoves prompted a mass resignation by members of his cabinet and the withdrawal of support from Peru’s security forces. Congress voted to remove him and the country’s constitutional court labeled his attempt to dissolve the legislature as “a coup.”

The public prosecutor’s office said the outgoing president has been charged with allegedly “breaching constitutional order.”

Vice President Dina Boluarte was sworn in as the country’s president, becoming the first female head of state in Peru’s history. Boluarte – who also condemned Castillo’s move – called for a political truce and the installation of a national unity government.

Castillo’s removal ends a months-long political crisis that had gripped the South American country. Elected in June 2021, his tenure has seen five cabinets, more than 80 ministers, six criminal investigations and two failed attempts to impeach him.

The former schoolteacher and union activist had pledged to support poor Peruvians and his win was seen as the result of disenchantment with Peru’s political elite after numerous corruption scandals.

Still, observers noted that the leader made numerous mistakes, including picking barely qualified ministers and garnering allegations of corruption and influence peddling tied to his family and associates.

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