LIMA: Peruvian president Dina Boluarte said on Friday she was considering moving up general elections to later this year, as the Andean leader struggles to keep a hold on protests demanding her resignation that have left dozens dead.
Congress is set to debate a proposal later on Friday to move national elections forward to April 2024, from 2026, but several legislators have proposed amending the bill to move up the elections even earlier, to late 2023.
Boluarte became president in December after her predecessor Pedro Castillo attempted to illegally dissolve Congress, after which he was ousted and detained. Protests broke out across the country, and a crackdown by security forces followed, at Boluarte’s instruction.
Peru’s Armed Forces said on Friday they would provide their “full support” to the National Police in removing protest-related roadblocks on national roads.
The defence ministry on Thursday said the roadblocks were “illegal” and called for protesters to stand down. In Puno, in southern Peru, hundreds of soldiers and police were deployed to free up the roads.
The protests have caused more than US$1 billion in damage, the government said earlier this week.
Hundreds of protesters also took to the streets of capital Lima, facing riot police and tear gas.
“They won’t let us go ahead with our peaceful march, we’re demanding Dina Boluarte resign,” one protester, Abraham Copatayapa, told Reuters. “We also demand early elections.”
Boluarte has maintained that she will remain as president on an interim basis until elections are held.
She added on Friday that national elections could come in December or sooner, depending on how quickly the proposal is passed.