Crisis in Peru: Congress passed a motion urging Pedro Castillo to step down

FILE.- The opposition-dominated Congress of Peru last night passed a non-binding motion calling for the resignation of left-wing president Pedro Castillo. in the middle of a strong political and social crisis after nine months in office.

After more than an hour of debate, the legislative plenary approved the motion presented by the opposition legislator Rosselli Amuruz, of the right-wing Avanza País party, with 61 votes in favor, 43 against and one abstention.

The motion simply symbolicwas voted on 10 days after radical right-wing opponents in Congress failed in their attempt to remove Castillo in a flash political process, getting only 55 votes out of the 87 needed.

Motions for “presidential vacancy” have become customary in Peru and have resulted in the downfall of Presidents Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (right) in 2018 and Martín Vízcarra (center) in 2020. Since December 2017, Congress has discussed six initiatives of this type.

TOPSHOT - Riot police protect themselves from tear gas thrown by protesters during a protest against the government of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, in Lima on April 05, 2022 - Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced the end of the curfew in the capital Lima aimed at containing protests against rising fuel prices following crisis talks with Congress.  (Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES / AFP)
TOPSHOT – Riot police protect themselves from tear gas thrown by protesters during a protest against the government of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, in Lima on April 05, 2022 – Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced the end of the curfew in the capital Lima aimed at containing protests against rising fuel prices following crisis talks with Congress. (Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES / AFP)ERNESTO BENAVIDES – AFP

The motion approved this Thursday is just an exhortation to resign, a trend of the parliamentary majority.

“This means that the document is not binding, and therefore does not oblige the president to resign. It is a political gesture with no concrete effects “. highlighted the portal of the Lima newspaper The Republic.

Meanwhile, the government yesterday restricted several freedoms on Peru’s most important routes to stop blockades against rising fuel, food and fertilizer prices, a fact that has sparked requests for the closure of the Congress and Pedro Castillo to keep his promises or to resign.

The decree signed by the president and published in the official gazette A Peruvian man includes freedom of assembly restrictions, and also allows law enforcement to make arrests for one month in any part of the more than 24,000 kilometers of road network without the need for a judge’s permission, as well as the application of restrictions on transit freedom.

TOPSHOT - Riot police protect themselves from tear gas thrown by protesters during a protest against the government of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, in Lima on April 05, 2022 - Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced the end of the curfew in the capital Lima aimed at containing protests against rising fuel prices following crisis talks with Congress.  (Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES / AFP)
TOPSHOT – Riot police protect themselves from tear gas thrown by protesters during a protest against the government of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, in Lima on April 05, 2022 – Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced the end of the curfew in the capital Lima aimed at containing protests against rising fuel prices following crisis talks with Congress. (Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES / AFP)ERNESTO BENAVIDES – AFP

The government’s decision was announced amid protests that began last week in various regions of the country, organized by public transport unions, truckers, teachers and citizens fed up with the incompetence of the government and Congress to deal with rising prices.

On Thursday, the president visited a Colosseum in the city of Huancayo, where he apologized for describing the roadblocks as “harmful” and the protest leaders as “paid”.

Tension has been mounting in Peru since Monday, as citizens shocked by rising fuel and food prices sparked protests in Lima, Ica and other regions – the first that Castillo, a 52-year-old rural teacher, faced. since he took office. eight months ago.

The president surprisingly ruled on Tuesday a curfew for 22 hours, which provoked the anger of sections of the population of Lima, who nonetheless demonstrated and asked him to resign. Under pressure for disobedience, Castillo had to overturn the decision 15 hours after it took effect.

On Wednesday, a 25-year-old agricultural worker involved in the blockade of the Pan-American highway was killed in clashes with police in Ica, 300km south of Lima, and 15 others were injured.

TOPSHOT - People clash with riot police during a protest against the government of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, in Lima on April 05, 2022 - Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced the end of the curfew in the capital Lima aimed at containing protests against the rising fuel prices following crisis talks with Congress.  (Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES / AFP)
TOPSHOT – People clash with riot police during a protest against the government of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, in Lima on April 05, 2022 – Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced the end of the curfew in the capital Lima aimed at containing protests against the rising fuel prices following crisis talks with Congress. (Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES / AFP)ERNESTO BENAVIDES – AFP

The government said the rise in fuel, food and fertilizer prices was caused by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine. Parliament and Castillo are unpopular among Peruvians. A survey by the company Datum Internacional published Thursday by the Peru21 newspaper showed that Congress – which attempted to remove Castillo on two occasions – reaches 82% disapproval, while the president faces 76%.

The clashes between the Legislature and the Executive began in 2016 and resulted in Peru having three presidents in five days in November 2020.

AFP and AP Agencies

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