Published43 minutes ago
Members of Congress in Peru have impeached President Pedro Castillo just hours after he said he was dissolving the legislative body.
In a fast-moving fight over who controls the country, Congress ignored an announcement by Mr Castillo, who had said he was replacing Congress with an “exceptional emergency government”.
His own vice-president denounced Mr Castillo’s move as a “coup d’etat”.
The head of the constitutional court said the move was an attempted coup.
Mr Castillo’s move to rule by decree, ignoring Congress, was met with shock both in Peru – several ministers resigned in protest – and abroad.
The United States “strongly urged” Mr Castillo to reverse his decision and Peru’s Vice-President Dina Boluarte accused him of breaking the constitutional order.
Peru’s police and armed forces also appeared to side with Congress.
Mr Castillo said he was dissolving Congress just hours before it was due to start fresh impeachment proceedings against him – the third since he came to office in July 2021.
He has accused those aiming to remove him from office of trying to undermine democracy.
In a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, he said: “In response to citizens’ demands throughout the length and breadth of the country, we have decided to establish an exceptional government aimed at re-establishing the rule of law and democracy.”
He said that “a new Congress with constituent powers to draw up a new constitution” would be convened “within no more than nine months”.
Peru has been going through a rocky political period, with multiple presidents ousted from office in recent years.
In 2020, it had three presidents within the space of five days.
Mr Castillo, who is a left-wing former school teacher, was elected in June 2021 in a polarising election in which he defeated his right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori.
He has recently been fighting allegations of corruption, which he says are part of a plot to oust him.