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JUST IN: Peru’s president Pedro Castillo impeached, arrested after attempting to dissolve congress

Peru’s leftist president Pedro Castillo was ousted by lawmakers and arrested Wednesday, December 7, 2022, in a dizzying series of events in a country long prone to political upheaval.

The dizzying series of events in a country long prone to political upheaval resulted in even more history, with Vice President Dina Boluarte later becoming Peru’s first woman president.

The day of high drama began with Castillo facing his third impeachment attempt since the former rural school teacher unexpectedly won power from Peru’s traditional political elite 18 months ago

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In a televised address, the 53-year-old announced he was dissolving the opposition-dominated Congress, installing a curfew, and would rule by decree for at least nine months.

As criticism poured in over the speech, lawmakers defiantly gathered earlier than planned to debate the impeachment motion and approved it with 101 votes out of a total of 130 lawmakers.

Castillo left the presidential palace after the vote with the intention of seeking asylum in Mexico’s embassy before he was arrested, according to a police report published by local press.

After his arrest was officially announced, a source in the attorney-general’s office told AFP that Castillo was being investigated for “rebellion.”

Boluarte took the oath of office within two hours of the impeachment vote, donning the presidential sash in front of Congress.

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During the ceremony, she said “there was an attempted coup by Mr Pedro Castillo that did not receive any support in the democratic institutions or out in the streets.”

She said she intends to serve out the rest of Castillo’s term, until July 2026.

A 60-year-old lawyer and mother, Boluarte had become one of the Castillo government’s best-known faces due to her position as Minister of Development and Social Inclusion, a post she held simultaneously with the vice presidency up until two weeks ago, when Castillo reshuffled his cabinet a fifth time.

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