Peru's one-house Congress Saturday voted against President Dina Boluarte's request about bringing forward the elections to December this year, which is one of the demands of the neverending protests nationwide that have erupted since her accession to power following Pedro Castillo Terrones' impeachment.
With 65 votes against, 45 in favor, and 2 abstentions, the Peruvian Parliament has blocked one of the possible ways out of the country's political crisis. The elections thus remain for April 2024.
However, a group of Fujimorist lawmakers put forward a motion to reconsider which is to be voted on Monday, although it is unlikely that the outcome would be reversed, according to local analysts.
Her sending the initiative to Congress made it obvious that Boluarte recognizes that her situation has worsened and with the negative vote, pressure for her resignation might mount. It has always been one of the other demands by the demonstrators, and one the President can deliver without depending on anyone else's decision.
Marches and road blockades demanding also a constitutional assembly spread nationwide, causing shortages of fuel, food, and medical supplies.
Peru's Ministry of Commerce and Tourism said on Friday that the sector has lost US$ 6.2 million daily due to the political crisis, after which 85% of travel packages have been canceled. Cusco's airport and the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu have been closed until further notice.
Also on Saturday, another anti-government protester died Saturday in Lima after clashes with police, the Ombudsman's Office reported, bringing to 65 the number of deaths since Dec. 7.
We regret the death of Víctor Santisteban Yacsavilca in today's violent demonstrations, the duty chief of the Grau Emergency Hospital is coordinating with the Peruvian Public Prosecutor's Office for the proceedings according to law, the Ombudsman's Office wrote on its Twitter account. The agency also said it was monitoring the case of a man who has been hospitalized seriously injured.
The Ombudsman's Office also said it was safeguarding the correct health care of the injured policemen and women who have been admitted to the National Police hospital.
Violent confrontations broke out late Saturday. The Ombudsman's Office called on the protesters to stop all forms of violence, such as throwing objects at the police or damaging public or private property. These are not forms of exercising the right to protest, they are crimes. We ask the police to act within the strict framework of their constitutional and legal attributions, the agency remarked.
At first, local media reported that at least six officers were injured and taken away in ambulances. Representatives of social organizations and activists reported on social networks that at least two demonstrators were also injured by the police action.
According to the Ombudsman's Office, 47 people participating in the protests died in clashes with security forces and one policeman was burned alive by demonstrators. In addition to that, there were 11 victims in events related to road blockades and one death in the northern region of La Libertad, confirmed by the Police.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported the death of four Haitian nationals who could not receive medical assistance due to the road blockades, in addition to an unborn baby.
In this scenario, at least 24 people died Saturday in a bus accident as the vehicle carrying some 60 passengers went over a cliff in the region of Piura, north of Lima. An unspecified number of Haitians was reported to be onboard the bus. Migration from Haiti has increased in recent months.
After Saturday's events, Boluarte urged lawmakers to put their partisan interests aside and place the interests of Peru above all else and pave a way out of the political crisis.
We regret that the Congress of the Republic has failed to reach an agreement to define the date of the general elections, where Peruvians can freely and democratically elect the new authorities, Boluarte wrote on Twitter.
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