UPDATE (5:57 p.m. ET): Pedro Castillo has been impeached and arrested, according to CNN.
Original story: Pedro Castillo, the left-wing populist president of Peru, stated he would dissolve the nation’s Congress and install a temporary government hours before the Congress was to vote on impeaching him and removing him from office, CNN reports.
A former school teacher who won election by just 40,000 votes, Castillo has faced multiple attempts by conservatives to oust him from office, sometimes joined by traditionally left-leaning labor unions, since he took office in July 2021. In a speech televised nationally Wednesday, Castillo called for new parliamentary elections and said he would assemble a committee to craft a new constitution.
Two previous impeachment attempts failed. Peru’s Congress is comprised of 130 representatives divided among 14 different political parties. The head of Peru’s supreme court described Castillo’s actions as a “coup d’etat” and called on Vice President Dina Boluarte to oust Castillo and take over the presidency. Seven cabinet members have resigned in protest.
Peru has been experiencing political upheaval since at least 2017 as vote-buying scandals, an coup by Congressional leaders and mass public protests have fractured the country. Castillo has continued the Peruvian streak of corrupt government officials: he’s the subject of at least five investigations into allegations that he used his position to financial benefit himself, his family and his allies by directing funds into personal projects that would enrich them.