Dina Boluarte sworn in as Peru's president after Pedro Castillo coup attempt

President triggered crisis by attempting to dissolve congress

Dina Boluarte takes over as Peru's head of state after President Pedro Castillo is detained. Reuters
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Peru’s Vice President Dina Boluarte took over as head of state after President Pedro Castillo triggered a crisis by attempting to dissolve congress in what the constitutional tribunal has described as a coup.

Congress swore in Ms Boluarte as the new president during a ceremony in Lima on Wednesday while Mr Castillo was detained by police after congress voted overwhelmingly to impeach him.

She will be the sixth president of the politically volatile nation since the start of 2018 and the first woman to be head of state.

In her inaugural address, Ms Boluarte said she would seek a government of national unity and pledged to fight the “shameful” corruption that afflicts the country. She also denounced Mr Castillo’s earlier attempt to dissolve the unicameral legislature.

“There has been an attempted coup d’etat,” Ms Boluarte said in her speech. “I assume the position of President of the Republic, being aware of the responsibility that requires of me.”

Mr Castillo’s attempt to suspend congress for nine months, write a new constitution and impose a curfew triggered an immediate backlash from lawmakers, the armed forces, the constitutional tribunal and his own cabinet.

The US rejects “any acts to circumvent or contradict Peru's constitutions”, State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

“We categorically reject any acts that undermine democracy inside of Peru. This is not only a concern of the United States, it is a concern that we share with our partners.”

In the impeachment vote, 101 members of congress voted to oust Mr Castillo for “permanent moral incapacity”, six voted against and 10 abstained.

Several ministers quit almost as soon as Mr Castillo made his announcement, and the armed forces issued a statement saying they opposed any attempt to break the constitutional order. Even several members of Mr Castillo’s own party backed the impeachment motion.

Pedro Castillo was impeached as Peru's president after he attempted to dissolve congress. AP

Peru’s sol tumbled as much 1.7 per cent against the dollar after Mr Castillo’s speech, then reversed losses as the power grab fell apart.

“Boluarte is not necessarily perceived as market friendly, but the general sentiment is that anyone is better than Castillo,” said Valerie Ho, a portfolio manager at Doubleline Group in Los Angeles.

“Her cabinet appointments will be an important signpost.”

The move revived memories of the decision by former leader Alberto Fujimori in 1992 to dissolve congress. At that time, he was supported by his ministers and the military.

Updated: December 07, 2022, 10:16 PM