Peru’s Congress Shelves President Boluarte’s Bill to Advance Elections

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Peru’s Congress shelved President Dina Boluarte’s bill to bring forward elections to 2023 on Friday night, leaving one of the main demands of protesters whose protests have rocked the country in recent weeks.

Boluarte on Wednesday introduced a bill to bring the election forward to October 2023 in an attempt to calm the deadly protests. A fractured Congress has repeatedly failed to agree on its own bill after weeks of political infighting.

A congressional committee examined the bill Friday afternoon, but shelved it on a technicality before it was even debated. Now it cannot be resumed until July, when a new legislative year begins.

The swift holding of new elections has been one of the main demands of protesters since former leftist President Pedro Castillo was ousted and jailed in December after attempting to illegally dissolve Congress.

Eight weeks of anti-government protests have left 48 people dead in clashes between protesters and security forces, mostly in southern Peru, rich in copper.

Congress had already agreed to bring forward elections initially planned for 2026 to 2024, but that didn’t stop the protests.

A bill to call elections this year, introduced by the right-wing Popular Force party, failed on Wednesday after days of closed-door negotiations that failed to reach consensus.

Castillo’s Peru Libre party introduced another bill to call early elections and a non-binding referendum on a new constitution, but it was rejected late Thursday.

Other bills to bring forward elections are underway, but none have achieved consensus.

Protesters across Peru have blocked roads with trees, stones and tires, seized regional airports and burned buildings, affecting freight transport, business and the operation of some key mines in the world’s second-largest copper producer.

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