Peru’s new President Dina Boluarte has announced in a nationally televised address that she will submit a proposal to Congress to speed up parliamentary elections following widespread protests.
Boluarte said early Monday that she would introduce a bill to bring the general election forward by two years to April 2024.
Her decision comes after Sunday’s protests calling for elections left two young people dead and four injured after former President Pedro Castillo was ousted over his attempt to dissolve Congress.
A 15-year-old and an 18-year-old died “possibly as a result of gunshot wounds” in clashes with police on Sunday in the city of Andahuaylas in the Andean region of Apurimac, the head of Peru’s ombudsman’s office Eliana Revollar, local radio station RPP said.
Baltazar Lantaron, the governor of the Apurimac region, told local TV channel Canal N that “four injuries are reported being treated at the health centre, three of them [with wounds] on the scalp, with multiple injuries”.
Thousands of protesters again took to the streets across the country on Sunday, including hundreds in the capital Lima, where riot police used tear gas to push back the protesters.
The protests that rocked Peru intensified, particularly in rural areas, strongholds of Castillo, a former schoolteacher and political newcomer from a poor Andean mountain region. Demonstrators torched a police station, destroyed a small airport used by the armed forces and marched through the streets.
Congresswoman Maria Taipe Coronado said the 15-year-old boy died of an injury during the protest as she impassionedly pleaded with Boluarte for his resignation.
“The death of this compatriot is Ms. Dina’s responsibility for not tendering her resignation,” said Taipe, who belongs to the party that helped Castillo and Boluarte be elected president and vice president respectively last year before both were ousted were this party. “Since when is protest a crime?”
“No Peruvian life deserves to be sacrificed for political gain,” Boluarte tweeted Sunday after Taipe’s speech to Congress. “I offer my condolences for the death of a citizen of Andahuaylas. I reiterate my call for dialogue and an end to the violence.”
Boluarte was sworn in last week after Castillo was fired by Congress and arrested for trying to shut down the legislature to prevent an impeachment trial against him.
Protesters, many of them Castillo supporters, have been demanding for days that Peru hold elections instead of allowing Boluarte to remain in power until Castillo’s term officially ends in 2026. Some protesters have also called for the closure of Congress.
The Peruvian Society of Airports and Commercial Aviation, which manages the country’s airports, announced the closure of Andahuaylas Airport following attacks and vandalism since Saturday.
Protesters set fire to the transmitter room, which is vital to the delivery of navigation services, he added.
The Ombudsman’s office said on Saturday that two police officers had been held for hours by demonstrators in Andahuaylas but were later released. It said 16 civilians and four police officers were injured in clashes on Saturday.
With Reuters and Associated Press