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Peru’s president urges Congress to approve early elections amid unrest

Dina Boluarte asks Congress to approve early elections as she refuses to resign despite worsening protests.

Peru’s embattled president, Dina Boluarte, has urged the country’s congress to move up general elections, as anti-government protests continue across the country following the ouster of President Pedro Castillo last week.

In a national address on Saturday, Boluarte criticized Congress, which on Friday failed to muster enough votes to pass his proposed constitutional amendment that would have pushed back elections, originally scheduled for 2026, to December 2023.

“Don’t be blind,” Boluarte said, reminding lawmakers to reconsider their position, citing opinion polls indicating that more than 80 percent of Peruvians want general elections, for president and congress, to stabilize the country.

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“Look at people and act in accordance with what they are asking for. I demand that the vote be reconsidered to lead to elections,” said the 60-year-old former vice president, who assumed the presidency on December 7.

Protesters are demanding early elections and the release of former leader Castillo, who was indicted and detained on charges of rebellion and conspiracy last week, sparking riots.

“We want the immediate closure of Congress; we want the resignation of Dina Boluarte,” René Mendoza, a protester on the border with Bolivia, told the Reuters news agency. “Today the Peruvian people are in mourning… All of Peru is in struggle.”

refuses to give up

Boluarte, however, said that he will not resign despite the intensification of the protests that have left at least 20 dead and more than 500 demonstrators and security forces injured. The crisis has only deepened the instability gripping the country, which has seen six presidents in as many years.

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“What is solved with my resignation?” he said, adding that such a measure would not solve the urgent problems facing the Peruvian countryside, such as the worst drought in half a century, and would only plunge the country into deeper chaos.

She told lawmakers it was not time for political revenge and that 83 percent of the country wanted new elections, Al Jazeera’s Mariana Sánchez said reporting from the capital Lima.

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He has addressed the protesters and asked them what they earn by burning police stations, prosecutors’ offices and courts and trying to take over airports and close highways, Sánchez said.

Boluarte has only been in office for 10 days and in that time he said he hasn’t even had time to sit down and start any kind of dialogue, the Al Jazeera correspondent said.

She was the outsider Castillo’s running mate in his stunning victory last year. The 60-year-old said she did everything she could to “protect” Castillo from a hostile Congress made up of elites who made it impossible for the newly arrived politician to govern.

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