The Peruvian Congress suspended until Tuesday the debate to resolve whether to approve an advance of the general elections for this year, in the midst of protests and blockades that do not stop demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte.
“By order of the president of the Congress of the Republic, the plenary session will continue on Tuesday, January 31 at 11:00 local time,” said a statement from Parliament after seven and a half hours of meetings between benches to try to reach an agreement. consensus.
In a message to the country on Sunday, the Peruvian president put more pressure by calling on Congress to advance the elections, warning that otherwise she will promote constitutional reforms so that those elections are imposed.
In Washington, the Organization of American States (OAS) expressed “dismay” by the violence in Peru, and called on the government to hold “soon” elections under international observation, in a statement where only El Salvador abstained “because it is still in consultation with the capital.”
The United States, through its ambassador Francisco Mora, stressed that “the moment of the elections in Peru It is a matter that the country’s leaders and institutions must decide” and asked the international community to support the Boluarte government.
Hundreds of people marched towards the center of Lima from the popular neighborhood of Huaycán, with a giant banner that read “Not one more death, Dina resigns now.” The historic center of the capital, the seat of political power, has been the scene of violent clashes between hooded men and the police.
In the Ica region, 250 km south of Lima, dozens of soldiers cleared various sections of the Panamericana Sur highway that were blocked. Roadblocks have caused shortages of basic goods and fuel in several provinces.
Boluarte acknowledged that the crisis has worsened with a scenario of violent protests and blockades, which has even led in areas such as Puerto Maldonado, in the Peruvian jungle, to some inhabitants resorting to charcoal or firewood to cook in the absence of gas, denounced those affected. to local media.
In the district of Poroy, 15 km from the city of Cusco, around 300 people were queuing up to buy a cylinder of domestic gas.
“There are people who have been queuing since three in the morning (…) I have not had gas for two weeks now. We have to go back in time and cook with firewood and charcoal, which is difficult, it hurts the lungs,” Gabriela Álvarez, 33, a housewife, told AFP.
The Peruvian Las Bambas copper mine, operated by China’s MMG and which supplies around 2% of the world’s volume of the metal, announced that it will suspend operations from Wednesday if the blockades continue.
The mobilizations will continue until Boluarte resigns, the union leader of the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP), Gerónimo López, told AFP.
The political and social crisis, which has already left 48 dead in southern cities and in Lima in seven weeks, shows no sign of a solution.
The political power has been unable to find a response to the demands of the population, especially rural people in the southern Andes with an indigenous majority, historically neglected, who had opted to improve their living conditions with the arrival of the leftist Pedro Castillo to the presidency ( 2021-2022), dismissed and detained on December 7 after trying to dissolve Congress.
Boluarte, then vice president, assumed the reins of government.
The Monday session of Congress approved reconsidering a vote on Saturday, when by a majority of 65 votes to 45 he opposed advancing the general elections to this year, as the Boluarte had implored.
The parliament had already voted an advance of the elections for April 2024.
On Sunday, the president of Parliament, José Williams, a retired right-wing soldier, first in line of succession in the event of the resignation of the president, also asked parliamentarians through his Twitter account to “responsibly reflect on the decision to be made.” Monday.
The political discussion coincided with the wake for Víctor Santisteban, 55, a protester who died on Saturday in the most violent protest in Lima since the start of the social revolt in December.
The initiative presented by Fujimori congressman Hernando Guerra García, from the right-wing Fuerza Popular (FP) party, seeks to advance the elections to October, so that the president, congressmen and elected authorities hand over power in December 2023.
But the left insisted that a referendum to create a Constituent Assembly should be included, something that is rejected by a broad spectrum of Peruvian politics. Other forces denounced an alleged maneuver to gain electoral advantage by Fuerza Popular, the party of former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori.
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