Peruvian President Pedro Castillo was arrested by security forces shortly after he attempted a coup and dissolved the country’s Congress just hours before the country’s right-wing Congress was set to vote on its third impeachment of the president.
Peruvian Vice President Dina Boluarte was sworn into office shortly afterward, becoming the first female president in the country’s history. Security officials announced Castillo’s arrest in statements to the press with pictures showing him in custody confirming his arrest.
Castillo stunned the nation by declaring the dissolution of the legislature, saying he would rule by decree until new elections were held. The police and military did not back his efforts, dooming the attempted coup before it could get off the ground.
Peruvian security forces held an emergency meeting to decide their loyalty following Castillo’s earlier calls to disband Congress, according to sources speaking with journalist Rodrigo Cruz. The generals agreed to support Congress and released a statement rejecting the president’s order, saying they considered it contrary to the constitutional order.
Castillo was arrested while caught in a traffic jam at approximately 1:05 p.m. Lima time.
Peru’s Congress had already proceeded with its impeachment plans, with 101 out of 130 members voting to impeach the president, CNN reported. Expedited by the president’s arrest, they swore Boluarte into office just hours after the vote.
Keiko Fujimori, Castillo’s right-wing opponent in the 2021 presidential election, congratulated Boluarte on her accession to the presidency while praising Peru’s police and military for siding with Congress.
“I express my gratitude and appreciation to the Armed Forces and the National Police for their fundamental role in safeguarding democracy and constitutional order,” she wrote on Twitter. “This is not the time for ideologies, neither for the right or the left. President Boluarte, we wish you success in the formation of a government of national unity.”
The dramatic day saw widespread confusion over who was in charge of the South American country. Several hours before his arrest, the Peruvian Embassy in Washington, D.C., told the Daily Caller that it had “no idea” who its president was.
Castillo won the presidency in 2021 on a far-left platform, which right-wing critics derided as communist. His short presidency was marred by bitter conflicts against his right-wing Congress, which had unsuccessfully impeached him in December 2021 and March of this year before the impeachment on Wednesday.