Dina Boluarte became Peru’s first female president on Wednesday, capping off a dramatic day which saw her predecessor detained by police and impeached by lawmakers.
Boluarte, the country’s former Vice President, was sworn into the top job at Congress to become Peru’s sixth president in under five years.
The ceremony took place hours after a majority of 101 members in the 130-person legislative body voted to impeach former leader Pedro Castillo.
The tumultuous day began when then-President Castillo announced plans to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government, ahead of a looming impeachment vote by lawmakers.
He also called for parliamentary elections to work on a new constitution.
The move prompting a string of cabinet resignations, fiery reactions from top officials and condemnation from regional neighbors – and ultimately failed to prevent his impeachment in Congress.
Peruvian armed forces rejected Castillo’s attempt to sideline lawmakers, calling it an “infringement of the constitution.”
And Boluarte herself criticized Castillo’s dissolution plan, describing it on Twitter as “a coup that aggravates the political and institutional crisis that Peruvian society will have to overcome with strict adherence to the law.”
International officials joined the chorus of condemnations of Castillo, with the United States urging the leader to “reverse” the move and “allow Peru’s democratic institutions to function according to the Constitution,” US Ambassador in Peru Lisa Kenna said on Twitter.
“We will continue to stand against and to categorically reject any acts that contradict Peru’s constitution, any act that undermines democracy in that country,” said US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price in a statement.
Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “deep concern” over Peru’s political crisis in a statement on Twitter, and Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs describted Castillo’s actions as “incompatible with the constitutional framework of that country, represent a violation of democracy and the rule of law” in a statement.
In a stunning turn of events, Castillo was detained by police in capital city Lima, a source with knowledge of the case told CNNE, after lawmakers impeached him in congress.
Images shared from the prefecture showed the former president, wearing a blue jacket, sat around a table while officials signed documents.
The government of the leftist leader had been mired in chaos since inauguration, with dozens of ministers appointed, replaced, sacked or resigned in little over a year – piling further pressure on the beleagured president.
Castillo, a former schoolteacher and union leader, has railed against the opposition for trying to remove him from the first day he was in office. He has accused Peru’s Attorney General, Patricia Benavides, of orchestrating what he called a new form of “coup d’état” against him through her office’s investigations.
In October, Benavides filed a constitutional complaint against him based on three of the six investigations her office had opened. The complaint allows congress to carry out its own investigation against the president.
A cascade of investigations
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 argues the allegations are a result of a witch-hunt against him and his family from groups that failed to accept his election victory.