Peru parliament rejects bill seeking to bring forward elections

The Peruvian parliament on Friday (December 16) rejected a bill that sought to bring elections in the country forward by more than two years. The parliament looked to end protests against the ousting of former president Pedro Castillo. The protests have left 18 dead. 

The proposal to move the elections from 2026 to December 2023, which needed 87 votes to pass, received only 49 in favor with 33 against and 23 abstentions, according to the official count.

The protests after the ouster of Castillo have now spread to several cities.

Watch | Massive protests across Peru over ex-President Castillo’s arrest; tourists stranded in Machu Picchu

Castillo was removed from office and detained after he tried to dissolve the legislature and announced he would rule by decree, in what opponents say was a bid to dodge an impeachment vote amid several corruption probes.

On Friday, Castillo’s detention was extended by 18 months. This sparked more protests as Castillo’s supporters took to streets. A state of emergency has been declared in the southern American country. The decree allows military to participate in law enforcement operations. There have been clashes between the military personnel and Castillo’s supporters

Castillo’s supporters — dozens of whom have camped outside the prison where he is being held in the capital — remain undeterred and unbowed.

“I am in total disagreement with the Peruvian justice system, because everything is for sale,” demonstrator Rolando Arana, 38, said in Lima after the court ruling on keeping Castillo detained. 

“The president has been kidnapped. There is no other word for it,” 41-year-old Lucy Carranza said earlier. 

On Thursday, 300 people marched near the prison shouting “Freedom for Castillo” under the watchful eye of police.

(With inputs from agencies)

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