When Dina Boluarte was appointed Peru’s sixth president in five years, she faced battles on two fronts. She is to appease the lawmakers who ousted her boss and her predecessor Pedro Castillo, and to calm protesters enraged by yet another president’s abdication.
On her first day in office, she called for a “political truce” with Congress. She was a peace proposal to the legislature that was at odds with Castillo, and she impeached him in December after Castillo tried to undemocratically dissolve Congress.
But now, nearly two months later, her presidency appears to be in even more trouble than the cancellation of Castillo’s term. Several ministers in her government have resigned and the country has been rocked by the most violent protests in decades. She was forced to again demand a truce on Tuesday – this time appealing to protesters. is.
Boruarte, who was born in a largely indigenous region of central and southern Peru, where Quechua is the most spoken language, may have been a leader in channeling protesters’ grievances and working with them. Emphasizing his departmental origins, he initially came to power as vice president of the left-leaning Peruvian Libre Party as vice president of Castillo.
But her plea for mutual understanding with demonstrators is likely too late in what analysts have called the deadliest mass uprising in South America in recent years. It says 56 civilians and one police officer have been killed in the violence and hundreds more injured as a result of elections, a new constitution and calls for Boruarte’s resignation.
Boruarte has tried to appease protesters by asking Congress to move up the election date. But the Peruvian parliament on Saturday rejected a motion to move elections to December 2023. The proposal received 45 votes in favor, 62 against and 2 abstentions.
Congress Speaker Jose Williams Zapata announced that after the first vote, a “review” of the results was presented. He said Congress will resume at 10 a.m. local time on Monday.
“We regret that the Congress of the Republic was unable to agree on a date for general elections that would allow Peruvians to freely and democratically elect a new government,” the Peruvian president’s Twitter account tweeted.
“We ask the bench to put the interests of factions and groups down and put Peruvian interests first. Our citizens urgently await a clear response to emerge from the political crisis and build social peace.” I am,” he added.
Peruvian watchers say Boluarte made the fatal mistake of distancing herself from rural voters after becoming Peru’s first female president to hold the top job.
“Bolarte’s own ambitions must be understood. She was clearly willing to sacrifice leftist ideas and principles in order to build a coalition with the right to hold power,” said Peru. expert told CNN. “And to use force against the very same people who voted for the Castillo and Volarte tickets.”
Castillo’s short tenure faced a hostile parliament in opposition hands, limiting his political capital and managerial capacity. “(Bolarte) was faced with a choice: she would follow Castillo’s path and for the next four years either fight the parliament trying to impeach her, or support the right wing and come to power,” Peru said. A legal expert at the University of Oxford told CNN.
Experts say she chose the latter, distanced herself from Castillo and instead relied on the support of a broad coalition of right-wing politicians to stay in office. CNN reached out to Boluarte’s office for comment and repeatedly requested an interview.
During her inauguration, former political rival Keiko Fujimori — whose father, Alberto Fujimori, was a former president and used security forces to repress enemies during his decade-long rule of Peru — boruarte said She could “count on the support and support” of her party.
Boruarte’s predicament is a far cry from her early days as a Peruvian civil servant working at the National Identity and Civil Status Registry in Surco as an adviser to senior management and later as head of the local office.
She ran for mayor of Surquillo in 2018 with the Marxist-Leninist Peruvian Libre Party. Although she failed to win a seat in her 2020 congressional election, she did get lucky the following year as Castillo’s vice-presidential candidate.
In an interview with CNN en Espanol that year, Boluarte revealed the statement she made about the dissolution of parliament. A method tailored to meet the diverse needs of Peruvian society. We don’t want a sabotageist parliament…we never said we were going to shut down the parliament. ”
Castillo, a former teacher and union leader, also hails from rural Peru and sees himself as part of the people. Despite his inexperience in politics and growing corruption scandals, Castillo’s presidency was a symbolic victory for many of his local supporters. They hoped he would bring better prospects to the country’s rural and indigenous peoples, who have long felt excluded from Peru’s booming economy of the past decade.
His ousting from power last year was seen by some of his supporters as another attempt by Peru’s coastal elite to downplay them.
The public has long been disillusioned with legislative bodies that have been criticized as selfish and unrealistic. A January poll by the Institute of Peru (IEP) found that more than 80% of Peruvians support Congress says not.
The public also has a bleak view of Boruarte, according to an IPSOS poll in December showing 68% disapproving of Boruarte. The same poll found that she was less popular in rural areas, with her disapproval score in rural areas in January at 85% compared to her urban areas (76%).
January 2022, Peru Libre Banished she’s from the party She told the Peruvian newspaper La Repubblica at the time that she “never embraced the Peruvian Libre ideology”.
After Castillo’s detention, the Voluarte government declared a state of emergency and stepped up its law and order policies as protests spread across many of Peru’s 25 regions.
When 17 civilians were killed during protests in southeastern Puno on January 9, the country recorded its highest civilian death toll since magnate Alberto Fujimori took power. human rights activists say. Puno the next day. An autopsy of 17 dead civilians found gunshot wounds, the city’s chief of forensic medicine told CNN en Español.
Human rights groups have accused Bolarte of using state violence to disrupt protests, and on January 11, Peruvian prosecutors found him guilty of “genocide, eligible murder and serious injury” linked to the bloodshed. launched an investigation into the president and other key ministers. .
Bolarte said he would cooperate with the investigation, but plans to stay in office and has shown little sympathy for the protesters. “I have no intention of stepping down. My commitment is with Peru, not a small group bleeding the country,” she said in a televised speech days after her investigation was announced.
When asked why security officials did not prevent the use of lethal weapons on demonstrators, Boruarte said on Tuesday that an investigation would find out where the bullets came from, suggesting that Bolivian activists had disarmed the weapons. Speculated without evidence that it could have been brought to Peru – as a claim that Bart describes as “a total conspiracy theory.”
Bolarte has done little to mitigate the angry rhetoric deployed by public officials, some of the media, and the general public when criticizing the ongoing demonstrations. ‘ and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) warned that it could incite a ‘further climate of violence’.
She again fueled tensions at a press conference on Tuesday. “We have to protect the lives and tranquility of 33 million Peruvians. Puno is not Peru,” she said. At least 20 of her civilians had died in clashes in the area, according to data from the Peruvian Ombudsman’s office, and the comment sparked an immediate backlash online.
The president’s office later apologized for the statement on Twitter Bolarte’s words were misunderstood and the president said he intended to emphasize the importance of the safety of all Peruvians. rice field.
With no end in sight to the protests, Boruarte tempered his inflammatory rhetoric Wednesday as he addressed a special session on the Peruvian crisis at the Organization of American States (OAS).
She announced plans to investigate alleged security force abuse of protesters, saying, “We respect the legitimate right to peaceful protest, but the state has a duty to ensure security and internal order.” It is also true,” he added.
The violence has cost the country nearly $1 billion and affected 240,000 businesses, but she said she was “deeply saddened” by “the loss of so many compatriots’ lives”. .
Bolarte again appealed to her former voter base, indigenous Peruvians. “You guys are a huge force that we need to include in order to achieve equitable development,” she said. “Your contribution to the development of your country needs to be valued not just in your strength.”