The last few days have seen yet more political upheaval in Peru, continuing the pattern of constant turmoil that has dogged the embattled President Pedro Castillo ever since he took office in July of last year.
On Monday, former military commander José Williams Zapata was elected the new head of Congress for a one-year term. The right-leaning majority helped the 70-year-old Mr. Zapata, a right-wing lawmaker from the Avanza País party, beat Luis Aragón from the centrist Acción Popular party.
Mr. Zapata replaced Lady Camones as Congress leader, after Ms. Camones was ousted by lawmakers last week following the emergence of sensitive audio recordings, which led to her being accused of using her position to benefit members of her own party.
Ms. Camones’s removal was backed by allies of Mr. Castillo — a rare occasion of support for the president from a legislature which has twice tried to impeach him.
Any friendly entente between Mr. Castillo and Congress was short-lived, however. One day after Mr. Zapata’s election to lead Congress, the legislature’s Constitution Commission began discussing a bill that would change the number of votes required to approve a presidential impeachment.
Constitution Commission that presides over the Congressman @NanoWar4 will initiate the debate of the PL to reduce or elevate the votes for the presidential vacancy. Simismo will continue with the debate on adelanto de elecciones.Este Martes 13 de Setiembre Time: 9:30 am pic.twitter.com/MuNOI0ywy8
— Comisión Constitución y Reglamento (@ComisionConsti2) September 12, 2022
Lowering the threshold of votes needed to approve an impeachment motion would prove a new threat to Mr. Castillo and the stability of Peruvian politics. There have been seven different impeachment attempts against sitting presidents in the last six years.
Meanwhile, President Castillo on Tuesday reinstated César Landa as his Foreign Minister. Mr. Landa was appointed back to the same cabinet position just one month after being replaced by Miguel Rodríguez Mackay. Mr. Mackay, who was sworn in as Foreign Minister on August 5, resigned on September 9 over disagreements with the president.
The Castillo administration has appointed a new cabinet minister every six days on average so far, an unprecedented though hardly positive feat.