Just hours before he was scheduled to face an impeachment vote in a dramatic escalation of his battle with the opposition-led chamber, President Pedro Castillo of Peru announced the immediate dissolution of congress and the installation of a “government of exception” to rule by decree until new legislative elections.
Wednesday’s declaration was the most dramatic turn in Castillo’s turbulent 17-month reign, which has already included five cabinet changes, six criminal investigations, and two unsuccessful impeachment attempts.
In a televised address to the nation, Castillo ordered a nighttime curfew and the reorganization of the court and prosecutor’s office, which are investigating him for alleged corruption and influence-trafficking – accusations he rejects.
Immediate resignations from the government ensued, including that of the foreign minister, César Landa, and the minister of the economy, Kurt Burneo. Minutes before Castillo’s speech, the army’s commander, Walter Córdova, resigned.
Landa tweeted, “I strongly condemn this coup d’état and call on the international community to support the democratic restoration of democracy in Peru.” “Castillo made this decision without my consent or knowledge.”
The move was immediately deemed unconstitutional and a coup by opposition legislators, who have refused to leave the congress building. They state that the anticipated impeachment debate and vote will occur.