Peru: Suspense in Parliament, occupation continues
Parliament reconvenes on Wednesday after again postponing a decision on early elections. A new demonstration took place in Lima.
“The full session is adjourned and will resume on February 1 at 11:00 am.” (5:00 p.m. in Switzerland), the Peruvian parliament announced on its Twitter account Tuesday evening. Contesting president Tina Polwarte and the right-wing Fursa Popular (Popular Force) party are arguing to bring forward a ballot scheduled for April 2024 to October 2023, hoping to quell the protests that have claimed 48 lives since December 7.
Parliament, which has already rejected a proposal for early elections on Saturday, has been in session since Friday. On Monday, more than seven hours of discussions were not enough, and on Tuesday the delegates wanted to postpone the decision again.
“The crisis in Peru is a failed neoliberal model (…) to go hand in hand with these early elections is popular advice for the Constituent Assembly,” said Leftist Vice President Edgar Tello.
Tina Polwart pressed in Parliament on Sunday evening, beginning during her address to the nation: “Ladies of Parliament, you must understand your historic responsibility. Tomorrow (Monday) you have the opportunity to earn the confidence of the country by responding to the long-standing demand of the Peruvian people. Vote and tell all of Peru with the greatest responsibility that we are all leaving.
Demonstrators are demanding the resignation of Dina Boluarte, but also the dissolution of parliament, which has been largely discredited by public opinion, general elections and the Constituent Assembly.
The unrest erupted after the impeachment and arrest of leftist President Pedro Castillo on December 7, accused of plotting a plot to dissolve parliament that was preparing to oust him from power. He was later replaced by Vice President Tina Bolavarte, whom the opposition considers a “traitor”.
Gerónimo Lopez of the General Confederation of Peruvian Workers (CGTP) accused the delegates on Monday of sticking to “their activities”, calling for a new large demonstration in the capital this Tuesday afternoon.
Hundreds of people marched through the city center 200 meters from the parliament. At around 8:00 pm, when most of the demonstrators had already dispersed, tear gas shells were fired.
“It is believed that Ms. Poluarte violated her principles and disrespected the people (by not resigning over Castillo’s accusation). A disloyal person cannot be in the government,” 30-year-old student Nelson Calderon told AFP. “Even if we advance the election, the only demand of the people is for Mrs. Tina Poluarte to resign. It’s what has to be done. If people don’t like Tina Polwarte, what difference does an early election make? People don’t want to talk to someone who killed their own people anymore,” he added.
Fanny Ugra, 25, from Moho in the Puno region, insists that politicians “only look out for their political interests, not the interests of Peruvians.” We will continue the struggle till the end,” he said.
Thousands of protesters, believing they were not being heard in their regions, left the Andes for days to demonstrate in the capital. The crisis reflects a deep divide between the capital and the impoverished provinces, which supported Native American Pedro Castillo and saw his election as revenge for what they saw as an insult to Lima.
Hundreds of people protested again on Tuesday in the south of the country. So, in the Andean town of Juliaca (Puno region, bordering Bolivia), where 18 people were killed during clashes with the police on January 9, farmers in traditional dress chanted “a united people will never be defeated.” In the country’s tourist capital of Cusco (south), near the famous Inca site of Machu Picchu, protesters marched through the city, forcing businesses to close.
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