Peru president to ask Congress to push elections forward to 2024

Peru's President Dina Boluarte attends a ceremony to commemorate the Day of the Peruvian Army and the anniversary of the Battle of Ayacucho, in Lima, Peru Dec 9, 2022. (PERU'S PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

LIMA – Peru's new President Dina Boluarte will submit a bill to Congress to bring general elections forward two years to April 2024, she said early on Monday, amid tensions in the Andean nation following the ouster of former leader Pedro Castillo.

Boluarte was sworn in last week after Castillo was sacked by Congress and arrested for attempting to dissolve the legislature in an effort to prevent an impeachment vote against him.

Some protesters also call for Congress to be shuttered

"I have decided to present a bill to reach an agreement with Congress to bring forward the general elections to April 2024," Boluarte said in a speech to the nation.

Boluarte's statement that she will present the bill in the "coming days" comes after two teenagers were killed and four people injured in Peru on Sunday during protests demanding the country hold general elections following the ouster of Castillo.

Demonstrators, many of them Castillo supporters, have for days demanded that Peru hold elections rather than allow Boluarte to stay in power until 2026, when Castillo's term would have ended. Some protesters also call for Congress to be shuttered.

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A demonstrator gestures next to a bonfire during a protest demanding the dissolution of Congress and to hold democratic elections rather than recognize Dina Boluarte as Peru's President, after the ouster of Peruvian leader Pedro Castillo, in Lima, Peru Dec 11, 2022. (SEBASTIAN CASTANEDA / REUTERS)

Clashes on Saturday left 16 civilians and four policemen injured, the ombudsman's office said

Meanwhile, the head of Peru's ombudsman's office, Eliana Revollar, told local radio station RPP that a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old died during clashes with police in the city of Andahuaylas, in the Andean region of Apurimac, "possibly as a result of gunshot wounds."

Baltazar Lantaron, governor of the Apurimac region, told local television station Canal N that "four injuries are reported, treated at the health center, three of them (with wounds) to the scalp, with multiple injuries".

The Peruvian Corporation of Airports and Commercial Aviation, which manages the country's airports, reported the closure of the Andahuaylas airport following attacks and acts of vandalism since last Saturday.

READ MORE: New Peru president sworn in, predecessor Castillo arrested

Protesters had set fire to the transmitter room, which is crucial for providing navigation services, it added.

The ombudsman's office on Saturday said two police officers were held for hours by protesters in Andahuaylas, but were later released. Clashes on Saturday left 16 civilians and four policemen injured, it said.