Peru: After Two Failed Impeachments, Congress Seeks to Shorten Presidential Terms

Peru's President Pedro Castillo speaks at a ceremony after Bolivia's president decorated him with The Great Cross of the Andes Condor, at the Casa Grande del Pueblo presidential palace in La Paz, Bolivia, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Castillo is on a one day official visit to take part in a …
AP Photo/Juan Karita

Lawmakers from the Leninist ruling Free Peru party introduced a bill in the Peruvian Congress on Thursday to shorten the presidential term from five years to two, a move that would force their own current president Pedro Castillo to resign next year.

Castillo won the presidency under the Marxist-Leninist banner of Free Peru in a sketchy 2021 race against Keiko Fujimori, daughter of conservative former President Alberto Fujimori and head of the opposition Popular Force party.

Peruvians, including many Free Peru members, have been regretting Castillo’s victory ever since, holding mass demonstrations to demand his resignation as the economy collapsed and the cost of living skyrocketed. 

Castillo tried to crush the demonstrations by shutting down Lima with a curfew, further enraging the protesters, who expressed their fury by trying to burn down the Superior Court of Justice after emptying their bladders upon it. Castillo relented and lifted the curfew, which was further damaging Peru’s already tottering economy.

Last month, Castillo survived the second attempt to impeach him in eight months. He has reshuffled his Cabinet four times and lost his prime minister Hector Valer in February. The Peruvian Congress passed a motion asking Castillo to resign three weeks ago, but he ignored the resolution.

Eight of thirty-three lawmakers from the ruling party delivered perhaps the ultimate rebuke to Castillo on Thursday by proposing to shorten the presidential term to two years and hold elections for both the presidency and congress in 2023, instead of 2026 as presently scheduled. One of the eight sponsors of the bill is Waldemar Cerron, whose brother Vladimir Cerron is the leader of Free Peru. Vladimir Cerron was a central figure in attack ads during the last presidential run, as he was the mastermind responsible for Free Peru’s pro-Lenin, pro-Fidel Castro manifesto. Castillo has tried to distance himself from Cerron and claimed not to be a communist.

“Given that the disapproval of the President and Congress are both high and rising, one way to exit this institutional and political crisis is … by calling for new general elections,” the proposed legislation stated.

According to the latest polls, 63 percent of Peruvians want Castillo to resign immediately, paving the way for a general election. His disapproval rating stands at 76 percent, while the Peruvian Congress is in even worse shape at 79 percent.

Castillo has his own plans to rewrite the Peruvian constitution – to give himself even more power and enshrine the disastrous Marxist-Leninist ideology that sent foreign investors fleeing in panic after he took office.

Castillo might not think he needs investors other than Communist China, which he is going to considerable lengths to please. On Wednesday, Peruvian police began violently ejecting indigenous protesters that were camped outside the Las Bambas copper mine, which is owned by China’s MMG Ltd. The protesters claim the mine is located on their ancestral land.


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