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29 Mar, 2022 10:35

Legislators vote on Peruvian president’s fate

The country’s parliament voted to allow Pedro Castillo to keep his post
Legislators vote on Peruvian president’s fate

President of Peru Pedro Castillo will remain in his post following a failed attempt to impeach him for alleged corruption and moral incapacity, as the country’s opposition-led parliament voted to keep him in office.

Castillo is the subject of three preliminary investigations into possible corruption, which under Peruvian law cannot proceed until he is out of office. The lawmakers seeking to remove the president from his post also accused him of “permanent moral incapacity,” a term incorporated into Peru’s constitutional law.

On Monday, Peruvian legislators took part in an eight-hour debate seeking to define the future of the South American nation and its leader. A total of 87 votes were needed to impeach Castillo but only 55 deputies voted in favor of the motion. Some 54 voted against it, while 19 chose to abstain.

“We have been democratically elected and in that regard, we are not going to disappoint. I hope that this page will be closed today,” declared Castillo in an interview hours before the vote.

“I shall always squarely face the nation… because I am subject to the rules of due process,” he said at the opening of his impeachment hearing. Earlier, Castillo had denied corruption allegations, blaming everything on right-wing groups that he claimed were “plotting a coup.”

The impeachment vote comes as Castillo’s government is struggling to find support from the right-wing opposition to conduct long-awaited social reforms. Political turbulence in Lima has forced the president to swear in four different cabinets, with one prime minister having lasted only three days in the job.

Castillo is a former school teacher and union leader, who comes from a peasant family. He was elected as the president of Peru in July last year. He is a member of the Marxist Free Peru party. Described as a moderate left-wing politician, he presents himself as a champion of the poor. During the election campaign, Castillo pledged to improve Peru’s education and healthcare systems but was unable to deliver on his promises due to opposition from right-wing groups.

“I salute that common sense, responsibility and democracy prevailed,” Castillo tweeted after the failed impeachment vote. “I recognize the lawmakers who voted against the vacancy, and I respect the decision of those who did. I call everyone to turn this page and work together for the great challenges of the country.”