Peru's President Pedro Castillo Terrones has been served with a notification that a vacancy motion had been filed against him. The constitutional procedure requires at least 40% of the votes – 52 being the magic number.
If the motion is admitted to debate, the President can either defend himself or be assisted by a legal team.
Opposition parties Fuerza Popular, Renovación Popular and Avanza País have filed a vacancy motion against Castillo, who has been in office less than four months, citing the alleged illegal use of public funds from the Junín Regional Government in favor of Peru Libre, the party under which Castillo ran for the presidency but from which he has distanced himself over the past few weeks.
Renovación Popular spokesman Jorge Montoya told El Comercio that the vote on whether or not to debate Castillo's vacancy will take place between Dec. 6 and 10.
Other charges against Castillo include the appointment of senior officials with ties to terrorism who are currently under investigation, such as Congressman Guido Bellido, who was made Cabinet Chief or Prime Minister until early October.
Congresswoman María del Carmen Alva has sent a letter to Castillo, letting him know a vacancy request had been submitted against him. The document claims that under Castillo the democratic system has been weakened by strengthening relations with undemocratic governments, such as that of Venezuela.
Other reasons for Castillo's impeachment include the alleged influence peddling by former Presidential Secretary Bruno Pacheco regarding promotions of Armed Forces officers and in favor of certain companies before the SUNAT tax and customs agency.
Economic instability is said to have grown under Castillo, whose poor relations with the media and his refusal to take questions from journalists add to the head of state's eroded image.
The motion for presidential vacancy has priority on the agenda and must be heard before any other motion pending on the agenda.
The vacancy motion against Castillo, promoted by parliamentarian Patricia Chirinos (Avanza País), has been supported by 28 congressmen, which mens she is 24 votes short from having Castillo impeached between December 6 and 10.
Violence against women is also said to have increased under Castillo.
The President may personally exercise his right to defense or be assisted by a lawyer during the session in which the plenary session of Congress debates and votes the vacancy motion against him, for up to 60 minutes.
The agreement that declares the vacancy of the Presidency of the Republic, for the cause provided in paragraph 2 of article 113 of the Constitution (including permanent moral incapacity), requires a qualified vote of no less than 2/3 of the legal number of the members of Congress (87).
The resolution declaring the vacancy - in accordance with Article 89-A of the Congress Regulations - must be published in the official newspaper El Peruano within 24 hours of receiving the resolution sent by Parliament.
The resolution declaring the vacancy becomes effective from the moment it is communicated to the head of state, the president of the Council of Ministers or its publication is made, whichever occurs first.
If Castillo is dismissed, the line of succession is activated. In includes, the first vice president, then the second vice president and if neither is available Congress would have to call for new elections.
Former President Martín Vizcarra was vacated by 105 votes in favor, 19 against and 4 abstention due to permanent moral incapacity after a bribery scandal broke out.
The removal of Vizcarra Cornejo was supported by the majority of the members of Acción Popular, Alianza para el Progreso (APP), Somos Perú, Podemos Perú and Frente Amplio. Popular Force, Frepap and Union for Peru (UPP) had a unanimous vote in favor, while the Purple Party was the only group opposed to his removal from office.
Castillo Friday insisted rightwing politicians were trying to regain power, with Vice President Dina Boluarte said the motion was an attempted coup. We have to stand firmly and defend democracy and respect for constitutional law, which is to let us govern in peace, because in anxiety, in irresponsibility managed from the right, those who suffer the delay are our peoples, Boluarte said