Pedro Castillo has been removed from office after trying to dismantle Peru’s legislature. The ousted president learned the limits of his power when members of the nation’s Congress mounted a bid to vote him out.
Although there is some disagreement regarding whether a Peruvian leader technically has the power to dissolve Congress, vocal critics nationwide described Castillo’s move as a coup.
In the end, a lopsided 101-6 vote among legislators determined that the president’s “permanent moral incapacity” warranted removal.
Events leading to the ouster
Castillo courted controversy a short time before the recent vote by asserting that he would be creating an emergency government stacked with political allies. From there, he expressed a desire to see the new legislature draft another Congress, telling the Peruvian population that he planned to rule by executive order in the interim.
He also floated the idea of completely overhauling the country’s judicial branch as well as law enforcement entities.
Adding to the controversy, the strongman leader attempted to implement a nationwide curfew effective Wednesday evening.
Mounting controversy catches up
A growing number of influential leaders began speaking out against Castillo’s authoritarian moves, including the resignation of the Peruvian army. Several other federal officials — including the ministers of foreign affairs and the economy — similarly stepped down in protest.
One of the final straws appeared to be a statement from Peru’s Ombudsman’s Office. The institution advised lawmakers that they should vote in favor of booting the president from office.
“Mr. Castillo must remember that he was not only elected president of the republic, but also that the people elected representatives for public service,” the agency explained. “Castillo’s actions ignore the will of the people and are invalid.”
Vice President Dina Boluarte took over as president following the congressional vote.