West News Wire: In the midst of ongoing anti-President Dina Boluarte protests that have claimed dozens of lives, Peru’s Congress has rejected her proposal to move elections up to December 2023.
Last month, lawmakers decided to move the elections from April 2026 to April 2024. Congress, however, rejected the measure at a plenary meeting on Saturday morning with 45 votes in favor, 65 votes against, and 2 abstentions.
Left-wing parties asked that a constitutional convention precede elections, which is what demonstrators have frequently demanded.
After more than seven hours of discussion, Congress President Jose Williams declared that the proposal for constitutional revision to advance elections was “rejected with this vote.”
Following the vote, Williams received a request for “reconsideration”, which could be debated on Monday in a new session, though it would be difficult to reverse the decision.
The South American country has been embroiled in a political crisis with near-daily protests since December 7, when then-President Pedro Castillo was arrested after attempting to dissolve Congress and rule by decree.
Protesters have demanded Boluarte’s removal, as well as immediate elections after the dissolution of Congress, and a new constitution.
“I have no interest in remaining in the presidency. If I am here it is because I fulfilled my constitutional responsibility,” Boluarte insisted.
As Castillo’s vice president, Boluarte was constitutionally mandated to replace him after he was impeached by Congress and arrested.
Demanding that Boluarte resign and call elections, the protesters largely Castillo’s supporters in poor and rural areas have erected roadblocks on highways, causing shortages of food, fuel and other basic supplies.
In seven weeks of protests since the former president’s arrest, 47 people have been killed, according to the Ombudsman’s Office of Peru.
The autonomous human rights office said another 10 civilians including two babies were collateral fatalities when they were unable to get medical treatment or medicine due to roadblocks.