Peru’s new president appears with the army to consolidate his power

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru’s first female president appeared in a military ceremony on national television Friday in her first official event as head of state, trying to consolidate her grip on power and bucking the national trend of premature presidential departures.

In a sign of the continuing political rancor, some politicians have already called snap elections, and more protests are planned.

Dina Boulwart was promoted from vice president to replace ousted left-winger Pedro Castillo as the country’s leader on Wednesday. She said she should be allowed to hold the position for the remaining 3 1/2 years of his term.

Bolarte addressed the armed forces during a ceremony on the occasion of a historic battle. Pollarte, along with leaders of the judiciary and Congress, sat among the lawmakers who attempted to remove Castillo from office.

“Our nation is strong and safe thanks to the armed forces, navy, air force and army of Peru,” Bolarte told hundreds of members of the armed forces in the Peruvian capital. “They give us the guarantee that we live in order, respecting the constitution, the rule of law and the balance of power.”

After being sworn in as president on Wednesday, Boulwart called a truce with the lawmakers who fired Castillo for “permanent moral incapacity,” a provision in the Constitution that experts say is so vague that it allows the removal of a president for almost any reason. It has also been used to oust President Martín Vizcarra, who ruled from 2018-2020.

Peru has had six presidents in the past six years. Boulwart is a 60-year-old lawyer and political novice.

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Soon she began to show herself in public action as the new head of state of Peru. She met groups of conservative and liberal MPs at the presidential palace. Before that, she danced an Andean dance after watching a Roman Catholic procession of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception.

Analysts expected a difficult road ahead for the new president.

Jorge Aragon, a professor of political science at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, said that a Boulwart government “would be very complex, if not impossible”.

Former President Ollanta Humala, who ruled from 2011 to 2016, noted that the new leader was not involved in politics or government before becoming vice president.

Humala told NTV, he predicted that any truce with Congress “will last a month or maybe more, but then it will be confronted by the country’s major problems.”

The governor of the Cusco region, Jean-Paul Benavente, called on the new president to call an early vote, saying it would offer “a solution to the country’s political crisis”.

On the streets, small demonstrations by Castillo supporters continued in the capital and other parts of Peru, including Tacapamba, the capital of the region closest to Castillo’s country home. Protesters demanded the ousted leader’s release, dismissed Boulwart as president and demanded a shutdown of Congress.

In Lima, protesters trying to reach the Congress building clashed with police, who used sticks and tear gas to drive them away, and more protests are planned for Friday.

“The only thing left is the people. We don’t have powers, we don’t have anything,” said Juana Ponce, one of the protesters this week. “It’s a national disgrace. All these corrupt congressmen are sold out. They betrayed our president, Pedro Castillo.”

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