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Analysis-Peruvian presidential curse will be hard to lift despite Castillo’s ouster By Reuters



© Reuters. New Peruvian President Dina Boluarte arrives to address the media at the Palace of Government, in Lima, Peru December 8, 2022. President of Peru/Release via REUTERS

By Marco Aquino and Anthony Esposito

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s first female president Dina Boluarte, who unexpectedly took power on Wednesday after her former boss was ousted and arrested, will need to tread carefully to avoid a fate forced to leave office early by her recent predecessors.

In a dramatic day, Pedro Castillo was removed from the presidency in an impeachment trial after he illegally tried to dissolve Congress in order to stay in power. That comes after months of unrest and two previous impeachment attempts by a hostile legislature.

One of Boluarte’s first official acts as president was to plead for a political truce and pledge to form a broad cabinet of all ideologies.

But that can be difficult in a country long divided by divisions between conservatives loyal to former president Alberto Fujimori, who are staunchly opposed to “fujimorism” and a large majority. People are fed up with traditional politicians.

Jason Marczak, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, said: “Boluarte immediately called for a dialogue between all political actors. Easier said than done. “.

It was her first speech after being sworn in as the sixth president of Peru in just five years and was a clear gesture to win support from both voters and the unicameral Congress, where she no party support after being expelled from Castillo. left the Peruvian Liberal Party earlier this year.

“The last Peruvian president without a political party, Martin Vizcarra, was impeached by Congress in 2020, leading to a wave of protests,” Marczak said.

A former civil servant, Boluarte is an unknown relative who rose to prominence alongside Castillo as vice president on his ticket when the pair won the shock election on 2021. But after the events of Wednesday, Boluarte, 60, criticized Castillo for his “attempted coup”.

Peruvian politics are notoriously volatile and, while her succession is cheered in the boardroom, it is unclear how long she will be given a truce by lawmakers.

Boluarte may eventually have to call early elections to bring stability to a country that has been mired in political turmoil for years, largely because the constitution allows Congress to easily remove the president. Lawmakers have led seven impeachment trials in recent years.

“I know there are some voices about early elections and that is something that is democratically respectable… Later, with the coordination of all organizations, we will consider alternatives. about how to better reorient the way forward for the country,” Boluarte said on Thursday, her first full day at the office.

Introducing elections scheduled for 2026 could reform a fickle Congress, which faces extremely low approval ratings. In a November poll, the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP) asked respondents what would happen if Castillo was impeached and 87% said a general election should be called.

“She talks about staying (in office) until 2026 and she has the law on her side, but let’s not forget this is a two-part issue: Executive and Congress. One part has been resolved. and there is still the other part of the problem, which is the Congress,” said Fernando Tuesta, a political analyst and former head of Peru’s electoral authority.

Another key element to a successful administration is appointing an experienced prime minister who can contend with a Parliament known for its controversial relationship with the president, as well as a team of trusted ministers.

Nicholas Watson, chief executive of consulting firm Teneo, said: “Even if she appoints someone who might fit this job description, that person will have a hard time creating it. lasting alliances because Congress is a difficult environment with little party loyalty and a very transactional mindset.”

Boluarte is expected to announce her cabinet makeover in the coming days.

One of her first challenges was dealing with radical Castillo supporters who were threatening to make life difficult for her from day one.

“(The new president of Peru) Dina Boluarte is not our president,” Sonia Castaneda said at a rally Wednesday in Lima, where some pro-Castillo protesters clashed with police. “Let the people vote for her, then I’ll recognize her (as president).”



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