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Peru Leader Faces Impeachment Bid After Seven Weeks in Power

Bloomberg logo Bloomberg 1/26/2023 Juan Pablo Spinetto and Stephan Kueffner

(Bloomberg) -- A group of leftist lawmakers in Peru’s congress are seeking to impeach President Dina Boluarte, the first such attempt since she was sworn in last month, in the latest escalation of the country’s political crisis. 

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Representatives of the socialist Peru Libre party and allied groups presented a motion late Wednesday to discuss the impeachment of the president for “permanent moral incapacity,” a loose term that Peru’s constitution accepts as a cause to remove a head of state. 

WATCH: Protesters clash with police

Lawmaker Guillermo Bermejo posted a copy of the motion on his Twitter account.

Peru Extends Deadline to Set Elections Demanded by Protesters © Photographer: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images Peru Extends Deadline to Set Elections Demanded by Protesters

For proceedings against Boluarte to start, at least 52 lawmakers — or 40% of the 130-member congress — would need to vote in favor of the impeachment motion. The vote of at least 87 of the lawmakers would then be needed at the end of the process for the formal removal of the president, an outcome that currently seems unlikely given that the president is being backed by conservative groups that have a majority in the legislature. 

Boluarte is herself a former member of Peru Libre, but her former allies turned on her after she backed the ouster of President Pedro Castillo last month. He was impeached hours after he tried to suspend congress, rewrite the constitution and reorganize the courts.

In just seven weeks in power, Boluarte has sought to govern with the support of conservatives in the single-chamber legislature as well as the security forces, amid increasing unrest in the Andean nation. The impeachment and arrest of Castillo, who faces as many as 20 years in prison if found guilty of the crime of rebellion, has triggered the worst outbreak of violence in the country in decades, with more than fifty deaths so far. 

Read More: Why a President’s Arrest Triggered Violence in Peru: QuickTake

Demonstrators have blocked hundreds of roads and clashed with security forces, calling for the removal of Boluarte and the replacement of the legislature. Peru has turned into one of the world’s most politically volatile nations, with six different presidents attempting to manage the country in just four years.

Read More: Peru Protesters Battle Cops, Try to Oust Fragile Government

“We continue to offer our hand to work for the country above ideological and political differences, above the current situation and above personal political aspirations,” Boluarte said in a speech to governors early Thursday at the presidential palace.

(Updates with comments by President Dina Boluarte in final paragraph)

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