Peru: Lawmakers again fail to decide on early elections

World Wednesday 01/February/2023 15:20 PM
By: DW
Peru: Lawmakers again fail to decide on early elections

Lima: The Peruvian Congress again failed to reach a conclusion on the discussion to bring forward elections scheduled for 2026, as the country remains embroiled in protests.

The debate has now been postponed until Wednesday at 11:00 am (1600 UTC), the Congress said on its official Twitter account.

Protesters had gathered near the Congress in central Lima on Tuesday. The so-called Great March, called by union leaders and rural organizations, saw protesters chanting and waving banners reading "Dina resign now."

Peru has been in the midst of a political crisis with ongoing street protests since December 7.

Why are there protests in Peru?
Demonstrations started when then-President Pedro Castillo was arrested for attempting to dissolve Congress and rule by decree. He was replaced by his vice president, Dina Boluarte.

In the following weeks, Castillo's supporters led violent protests nearly every day and blocked important routes within the country.

This has caused severe food and fuel shortages in southern regions. At least 48 people have died in the clashes with security forces, including one police officer, according to the Ombudsman's Office.

Protesters are asking for immediate elections, the dissolution of Congress and the creation of a new constitution.

Elections moved up to 2024

Last month, the elections due in 2026 were moved up to April 2024. However, Boluarte has called to move them to 2023 since the protests are not abating.

"Vote for Peru, for the country, by moving the elections up to 2023," she said while addressing the nation on Sunday.

Last week, lawmakers voted against bringing forward elections to this October.

Boluarte has said she would propose a constitutional reform allowing a first voting round to be held in October if lawmakers again refuse to advance the elections during Tuesday's meeting.

The social unrest has deeply impacted Peru's tourism industry. The South American nation attracted 4.5 million tourists a year before the pandemic, with no hopes of rebounding due to the ongoing crisis.

The government shut down the famous Machu Picchu tourist attraction for the safety of visitors due to protests.