Peruvian president urges Congress to approve early polls

Lima, Jan 28 : Peruvian President Dina Boluarte has urged Congress to move general elections forward to December 2023, in order to get the country out of the "quagmire" with near-daily protests. The government initially proposed holding the elections in April 2024, rather than a previously scheduled date in 2026, reports Xinhua news agency. The proposal was already approved by the legislature in December 2022. With support growing among lawmakers to bring the elections forward even earlier to December 2023, a Congressional debate on the issue will be held in February. At least 87 votes in favour are needed to pass the new proposal since it is a constitutional reform. Advancing the elections to later this year could help Peru "get out of this quagmire we're in", Boluarte said on Friday, noting protests continued in Peru with "more violence" in the streets. "No one has any interest in clinging to power and I, Dina Boluarte, have no interest in remaining in the presidency any longer," she said. Political unrest in Peru was sparked on December 7, 2022, when Boluarte took office following the ouster of her predecessor Pedro Castillo. The Peruvian Congress impeached Castillo just hours after his failed attempt to dissolve the legislature. Castillo was then detained by security forces. Among the protesters' demands are early elections and Castillo's release from custody. At least 56 people have died in the subsequent unrest, which continues across the country. The government has been accused of using excessive force in its efforts to quell the protests, and Peru's ombudsman said that, of the victims, 46 were involved in clashes with the security forces. The Governors of Puno, Cusco and Apurimac regions have also called for the President's resignation and, earlier this week, opposition politicians submitted a motion to impeach Boluarte. /IANS


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