Analysts predicted a difficult term for Pedro Castillo, elected on June 6 by a very narrow majority and proclaimed president six weeks later after a very long recount – his right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori had disputed the results, alleging, without proof, fraud. History has not denied them.
No sooner had he taken the presidential chair on July 28 than the first controversies broke out. The appointment of his ministerial cabinet opened the first gaps, making him the president with the fewest favorable opinions (38%) at the start of his mandate for twenty years, according to an Ipsos poll published in early August.
The election of this former teacher of peasant origin raised strong hopes for social justice for the popular classes of the country. But the composition of his government, led by the prime minister, Guido Bellido, a member of Free Peru – a Marxist-Leninist formation under which Mr. Castillo stood for the presidential election – has caused trouble among his supporters of the progressive left, some not hesitating to slam the door.
Pinned down in the past for homophobic and misogynistic statements, Mr. Bellido is also targeted by an investigation for apologizing for terrorism for remarks deemed complacent towards the Communist guerrillas of the Shining Path (whose armed action had led to an internal conflict in the 1980s and 1990s). The Prime Minister has also been targeted for several days by serious accusations of verbal assault against a member in July, before her inauguration: “You no longer need to be raped”, he would have said, which he denies.
The government’s presentation at the end of July triggered a fall in the stock market and a sudden depreciation of the currency, which immediately resulted in soaring the price of basic foodstuffs. In mid-August, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hector Bejar, an 85-year-old former guerrilla, was forced to resign for his comments made in 2020 on the alleged role of the Navy, trained for this by the CIA, in the outbreak of terrorism and the creation of the Shining Path.
Today it is the turn of the Minister of Labor, Iber Maravi, to be in the hot seat. He is accused of having concealed his past as a member of the Shining Path in the 1980s, as a sector leader, which he denies.
The government narrowly won the confidence of Parliament on August 27. But the opposition leaves no truce to Pedro Castillo. “A party, on the extreme right of the political spectrum, dreams of seeing him fall, says Jorge Aragon Trelles, professor at the Catholic University of Peru. They still do not recognize the legitimacy of the president. “ Certain extreme right-wing groups, particularly active since the period between the two rounds of the elections (April-June), demonstrate every week and have repeatedly called for a coup d’etat.
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