Dina Boluarte gives up her intention to run until 2026 and complete the term allotted to her by the previous government of the detained Pedro Castillo

Peru's president declares state of emergency in conflict zones and calls elections for 2024

AFP PHOTO/PRESIDENCIA DEL PERÚ/LUIS IPARRAGUIRE - Peru's President Dina Boluarte announcing in a televised message that she will present a bill to Parliament to bring forward the general elections scheduled from April 2026 to April 2024, at the Presidential Palace in Lima, 11 December 2022

Peru continues its period of political upheaval after the arrest of President Pedro Castillo on Wednesday and the assumption of power by the former vice-president of the Republic, Dina Boluarte.

Peru's new president declared her intention to remain in power until 2026, when the governmental cycle of the ruling Executive would end, but she has given in to popular pressure and has decided to propose to Congress that elections be called for April 2024, bringing the electoral process forward by two years. "Interpreting the will of the people as broadly as possible, I have decided to take the initiative to reach an agreement with the Congress of the Republic to bring forward the general elections to April 2024," Dina Boluarte announced in a televised address to the nation.

Protests and riots have been strong in the Andean country, which has increased tension in the country. Dina Boluarte herself also announced the declaration of a state of emergency "in the areas of high social conflict", referring to the areas in the south of the country where there has been most unrest, with the intention of recovering control of internal order "peacefully". In her televised message, President Boluarte reported on the declaration of the state of emergency and announced that she had given "instructions to recover control of internal order peacefully, without affecting the fundamental rights of citizens".


The protests left at least two people dead in the southern Andean region as a result of clashes with the police. These demonstrations multiplied throughout the country following the dismissal and arrest of Pedro Castillo after he decided to dissolve Congress and establish a government of exception. The former president was arrested and imprisoned on charges of rebellion and conspiracy, according to the national Public Prosecutor's Office. The then president of the Republic was accused of carrying out a kind of self-coup d'état, in a difficult situation because he did not enjoy the support of the army, nor that of the government, nor that of a large part of his Peru Libre party. In fact, Pedro Castillo suffered up to three motions of censure after being accused of corruption and "permanent moral incapacity" after having made several changes in his government team.

Peruvian protesters have recently been demanding the closure of Congress and an early election after the departure of Pedro Castillo, who still has sectors of the public in his favour calling for his release, according to local media.

Interior Minister César Cervantes said that the state of emergency will come into effect in the regions of Apurímac, Arequipa and Ica, in the south of the country, and that it will be implemented "as soon as possible", as reported in the Peruvian media. 


Dina Boluarte is thus taking the initiative to calm the troubled political waters in Peru and is trying to consolidate her political position, after she distanced herself politically from her predecessor in the face of Pedro Castillo's risky political decision to dissolve Congress and propose an alternative government. 

Protests have been large in several cities in the interior of Peru, including Cajamarca, Arequipa, Huancayo, Cusco and Puno. In the southern city of Andahuaylas, in the Apurímac region, clashes broke out between demonstrators and the police, leaving two people dead and some thirty injured, as the authorities confirmed to the Peruvian radio station RPP. Among the demonstrators there were proclamations demanding the release of Pedro Castillo and the closure of Congress.

Current president Dina Boluarte expressed her condolences over the deaths. "I deeply regret the death of our compatriots in Andahuaylas, Apurímac, my homeland. I express my heartfelt condolences to their families," said President Boluarte in her televised message to the nation.  


Dina Boluarte became Peru's sixth head of state since 2018, after Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Martín Vizcarra, Manuel Merino, Francisco Sagasti and Pedro Castillo. All of this in a country like Peru, which has long been suffering from high political instability and many problems with several of its last former presidents, who ended up in prison or in search and capture, as in the case of Pedro Castillo himself or Alberto Fujimori, and where popular disenchantment with the corruption cases suffered in recent years is spreading.

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.