Peruvian President Pedro Castillo was detained by police in the capital Lima, a source with knowledge of the case told CNN, after lawmakers voted to remove Castillo on a turbulent day for the South American nation.
Vice President Dina Boluarte is expected to be sworn in as Peru’s new president, but will need cross-party support to govern.
A majority of the 101 members of Peru’s 130-member Congress voted to impeach the embattled Castillo on Wednesday afternoon after he tried to dissolve the body and form an emergency government earlier in the day.
Earlier in the day, Castillo called for parliamentary elections to draw up a new constitution, prompting a series of cabinet resignations, a furious reaction from senior officials and condemnation from regional neighbors.
Boluarte himself criticized Castillo’s dissolution plan on Twitter ahead of the congressional impeachment vote. “I oppose Pedro Castillo’s decision to undermine the constitutional order by closing Congress,” she tweeted. political and institutional crisis.”
At least seven cabinet ministers resigned, including Environment Minister Wilbert Rozas, Finance Minister Kurt Bourneau, Foreign Minister César Landa and Justice Minister Felix Cherau.
The U.S. ambassador to Peru, Lisa Kenna, said Castillo’s attempt to dissolve Congress had also been condemned by international officials, and the U.S. urged leaders to “reverse” the move and “allow Peru’s democratic institutions to act on their own terms.” “Constitutional Operations” tweeted.
The Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “deep concern over the political crisis that the sister republic of Peru is going through and calls on all political and social actors to preserve democratic institutions, the rule of law and constitutional order,” Istatement on twitter.
The leftist leader’s government has been in disarray since taking office, with dozens of ministers appointed, replaced, sacked or resigned in just over a year – putting further pressure on the embattled president.
Castillo, a former teacher and union leader, had blasted the opposition for trying to oust him on his first day in office. He accused Peru’s attorney general, Patricia Benavides, of orchestrating what he called a new form of “coup” against him through an investigation by her office.
In October, Benavidez filed a constitutional lawsuit against him based on three of six investigations her office opened. The complaint allows Congress to conduct its own investigation of the president.
Elected in July 2021 by a narrow margin in a runoff, Castillo has faced a cascade of investigations on whether he used his position to benefit himself, his family and closest allies by peddling influence to gain favor or preferential treatment, among other claims.
Castillo has repeatedly denied all allegations and reiterated his willingness to cooperate with any investigation. He argued the charges were the result of a witch hunt against him and his family by groups that failed to accept his electoral victory.
The president faces five preliminary criminal investigations over allegations he orchestrated a corrupt scheme while in office. These include prosecutors alleging he led a “criminal network” of interfering with public institutions such as the transportation ministry, housing ministry and Peru’s state-run oil company to control the public bidding process and benefit specific companies and close allies.
Prosecutors are also investigating whether the president spearheaded the influence-peddling process to promote officials in the armed forces and national police.
In addition to the president himself, the investigations have looked into Castillo’s family, including his wife and sister-in-law. First lady Lilia Paredes is under investigation for allegedly coordinating a criminal network. Her attorney, Benji Espinoza, stressed her innocence and argued that the investigation into the first lady included “many flaws and omissions.”
Her sister-in-law, Yenifer Paredes, is under investigation for alleged involvement in a criminal organization, money laundering and serious collusion. She was detained until a judge revoked her 30-month “preventive detention”. She also denies any wrongdoing.
“My daughter, my wife, my whole family have been attacked with the sole purpose of destroying me because they don’t want me to finish my term and I promise you I will finish my term, I There is no corruption,” he said in a televised address from the presidential palace on Oct. 20.
In the same speech, Castillo acknowledged that some of his closest allies should face justice over corruption charges, saying, “If they betray my trust, let justice come to them.”