Peru’s Castillo fights back after impeachment vote, denounces ‘institutional crisis’

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo on Tuesday dismissed corruption allegations and told Congress, which passed a motion to impeach him earlier this week impeachment-trial-against-castillo-2022-03-14, that all branches of government are in crisis right now.

“Peru is going through an unprecedented institutional crisis,” Castillo said in a rare hour-long speech. “We will send to the Congress of the Republic a package of reforms that will allow us to overcome this structural crisis,” he said. The speech marked Castillo’s most aggressive defense yet against his embattled administration, which faces corruption allegations he denies. Since taking office in July, Castillo’s approval rating has dropped rapidly, now hovering around 25%.

Although Castillo acknowledged errors, he did not name any. Castillo’s government has been marked by crises and he has gone through more cabinet members than any other administration in recent history, including four prime ministers. An impeachment attempt in December failed to win enough votes to gain admission to the opposition-led Congress, but a second attempt was successful this week. Castillo now faces an impeachment trial on March 28, after which Congress will need 66% support to oust him.

Peru, the world’s second-largest copper producer, has had five different presidents since 2018, a period marked by political instability and infighting between different branches of power, including frequent impeachment attempts. “I understand the power of Congress to exercise oversight and political control, however, these mechanisms cannot be exercised by mediating the abuse of the law, proscribed by the constitution, ignoring the popular will expressed at the ballot box”, did he declare.

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