Faced with protests, Peru’s president puts pressure on parliament

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The President of Peru Dina Boluarte once again demanded early elections in the Peruvian Parliament on Sunday evening, while the mobilization in the street does not weaken.

Peru’s President Dina Boluarte put pressure on Parliament on Sunday, January 29, urging it to approve early elections as tension escalated on Saturday with the first death in Lima during protests.

“Ladies and gentlemen of Parliament, you must understand your historic responsibility. Tomorrow (Monday) you have the opportunity to gain the confidence of the country by responding to this long-awaited request of the Peruvian people”, declared Dina Boluarte, during a televised message to the nation Sunday night. “Vote for Peru in favor of the country by advancing the elections to 2023 and say to all of Peru with the greatest responsibility that we are all leaving,” she said.

>> See also, Cap Amériques: demonstrations in Peru: the reasons for the anger against President Boluarte

Parliament was due to reconsider Monday morning (10 a.m. local, 3 p.m. GMT) a bill to bring the elections forward to October 2023.

On Saturday, the proposal for early elections presented by pro-Fujimori MP Hernando Guerra Garcia, of the right-wing Fuerza Popular (FP) party, was rejected by 65 votes to 45. The left then insisted on introducing an amendment providing for a referendum on a Constituent Assembly, contributing to the failure of the bill.

The president indicated that in the event of a negative vote, she herself would present two bills: a new bill to advance the ballot to October and another providing that the future Parliament prepares a reform of the Constitution.

“The mobilizations will continue”

This political debate comes as for the first time in Lima, a person died during demonstrations that degenerated into violence. Victor Santisteban, 55, died of a fractured skull. “We want justice to be done,” Elizabeth Santisteban, sister of the deceased, told reporters. This brings to 48 the number of victims since December 7.

According to the Office of the Ombudsman, seven people are still hospitalized after the protests in Lima, including one in serious condition. According to the same source, 28 police officers were injured during these clashes.

“The mobilizations will continue because there is no sign that the executive (Dina Boluarte) will resign,” the leader of the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP), Geronimo Lopez, told AFP. who called for a nationwide march on Tuesday afternoon under the slogan “Dina quit now.” “Concretely, the people say that they will not stop their struggle if she does not resign”, adds the trade unionist while no way out of the crisis is looming on the horizon.

The demonstrators demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, the dissolution of Parliament and a Constituent Assembly.

“They are playing with fire”

The unrest began on December 7 after the dismissal and arrest of left-wing President Pedro Castillo, accused of having attempted a coup d’etat in order to dissolve the Parliament which was preparing to oust him from power. The crisis is also a reflection of the huge rift between the capital and the impoverished provinces that backed Native American President Castillo and saw his election as revenge for what they feel was Lima’s contempt.

>> To read also: crisis in Peru: the “country has been ungovernable for years”

Last week, Dina Boluarte told the foreign press that the groups behind the violent protests were “seeking to kill one person in Lima”. “They say that one death in Lima is worth a hundred in the province,” she lamented.

Before her televised intervention, Dina Boluarte had in an interview with the newspaper Trome “regretted” that Parliament had not reached an agreement, “I urge them to put the interests of the country before the interests of the parties”.

“The truth is that they (the deputies) are playing with fire. Their vision is a total denial of reality. They would like to stay until 2026 (the end of their mandate)”, estimates analyst Giovanna Peñaflor d ‘Imasen, a sociological and political research firm. “The situation is going to get worse. Today we have a significant number of deaths related to politics and it cannot continue like this,” she said.

According to a survey by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP), 73% of Peruvians are calling for elections this year. And 89% disapprove of the attitude of Parliament, discredited in public opinion for months already.

With AFP

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