PUBLICIDAD

Iberdrola

Peruvian Congress rejects impeachment of President Castillo

Opposition campaign failed to reach the 87 votes needed to impeach the Peruvian head of state
El presidente peruano Pedro Castillo se dirige al congreso mientras se enfrenta a una votación de destitución, en Lima, Perú 28 de marzo de 2022 Ernesto Arias/Congreso de la República de Perú via REUTERS

Ernesto Arias/Congress of the Republic of Peru via REUTERS  -   Peruvian President Pedro Castillo addresses congress as he faces an impeachment vote, in Lima, Peru March 28, 2022

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo has managed to avoid the vacancy motion requested against him, based on the president's alleged "moral incapacity" to hold office. The Peruvian Congress rejected the motion on Monday with 55 votes in favour, 54 against and 19 abstentions, far short of the required majority.

The debate lasted more than ten hours, during which the protagonists exchanged interventions. Castillo began by pointing out the lack of facts "that merit" the motion demanded by the opposition, and assured that his presence before Congress was solely to "show maximum respect for the constitutional state and its tools of control" and that his mission as governor is "to serve the country". 

​  Ernesto Arias/Congreso de la República de Perú via REUTERS - El presidente peruano Pedro Castillo se dirige al congreso mientras se enfrenta a una votación de destitución, en Lima, Perú 28 de marzo de 2022  ​
Ernesto Arias/Congress of the Republic of Peru via REUTERS - Peruvian President Pedro Castillo addresses congress as he faces an impeachment vote, in Lima, Peru March 28, 2022.

The motion included 20 points of accusation, including allegations of corruption, irregular appointments to ministries and high-level public posts, and an allegation of an supposed lack of capacity to hold the office of president of the Peruvian government.

The precursors of the motion, such as Jorge Montoya of the far-right Renovación Popular party, quickly assumed that it was unlikely that the vacancy motion would reach the 87 votes needed to become effective. This lack of support was evident after the vote, after which Montoya reaffirmed his party's position of "continuing to work as always, looking to the future" and assured that the motion had been "a wake-up call" to the government.

On the other hand, Waldemar Cerrón, spokesman for the ruling Peru Libre party, pointed to the decision of the congress that "today has said no to vacancy, because democracy has to be defended" and remarked that "the governability of our country is guaranteed".

Los partidarios del presidente de Perú, Pedro Castillo, se manifiestan fuera del congreso donde los legisladores votaron para proceder con el procedimiento de destitución contra Castillo, en Lima, Perú, el 28 de marzo de 2022 AP/MARTIN MEJIA
AP/MARTIN MEJIA - Supporters of Peru's President Pedro Castillo demonstrate outside congress where lawmakers voted to proceed with impeachment proceedings against Castillo, in Lima, Peru, March 28, 2022.
Second vacancy motion 

The event that took place this week in Peru is the second of its kind in barely eight months of government, since Pedro Castillo won the elections in July 2021 over the right-wing Keiko Fujimori. Last December, Congress rejected a similar measure.

Manifestantes, uno de ellos con un cartel que dice "Castillo fuera", protestan contra el presidente peruano Pedro Castillo fuera del congreso mientras Castillo se enfrenta a una votación de destitución, en Lima, Perú 28 de marzo de 2022 REUTERS/SEBANTIÁN CASTANEDA
REUTERS/SEBANTIÁN CASTANEDA - Demonstrators, one of them holding a sign reading "Castillo out", protest against Peruvian President Pedro Castillo outside the congress as Castillo faces an impeachment vote, in Lima, Peru March 28, 2022

If the motion had gone ahead, Castillo would have joined the list of predecessors who have been removed from government, along with Martín Vizcarra, ousted by Congress in November 2020, and right-winger Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who resigned in March 2018 after it became known that he would be impeached. This situation could plunge Peru into a new political crisis from which it has been unable to recover since 2016, when the congress was also dissolved.

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra