(CNN Spanish) — President Pedro Castillo celebrates one year leading the Government of Peru this Thursday, a position he accepted after winning the elections in 2021 and in the midst of a political crisis in the country, during which former President Martín Vizcarra was removed from power and former presidents Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Manuel Merino resigned.
His campaign and first year of presidency have not been without controversy, from the appointment of the president of his Council of Ministers, Guido Bellido Ugarte, at the beginning of the mandate, through the multiple changes of interior ministers, to his proposal for chemical castration for rapists, the recent state of emergency and order of immobility in the face of protests and the five investigations against them, four for alleged corruption.
Castillo has denied these accusations and assures that there is a plot against him to remove him from office.
Either way, his first year as president has been marked by attempts by the opposition in Peru’s Congress to remove him from office and calls for his resignation, and according to the consultancy Ipsosthe president had in April a level of disapproval of 76%, with an approval of 19%.
But what have been his main government actions so far?
Project of new Constitution
In April, Castillo sent a draft constitutional reform to the Peruvian Congress so that the population can decide whether to authorize a Constituent Assembly to draw up a new Constitution.
In an official letter sent to the President of Parliament, María del Carmen Alva, Castillo requests that Congress “debate and approve this proposal, and that citizens be consulted through the referendum in the same electoral act of the Regional and Municipal Elections 2022”. Peruvians are called to the polls in October to elect new local authorities.
However, the Peruvian Congress finally File, Archive in May the project of constitutional reform of Castillo.
The Castillo government announced in April that it was preparing a bill that proposes chemical castration for rapists of minors, adolescents and women.
During his presentation, Castillo mentioned the case of a 3-year-old girl who has caused great outrage in the country. The man, accused of kidnapping and raping her, received nine months of preventive detention by the Judiciary.
Chemical castration is the use of drugs to reduce libido or sexual activity and is a legal form of punishment in countries such as South Korea, Poland, the Czech Republic and in some states of the United States, but it is considered a penalty ” cruel and inhuman” by Amnesty International.
Castillo said that he awaits the support of the Congress of the Republic to approve the bill 01761/2021-PEformally presented on April 21.
“Do not turn your back on a popular clamor,” he added.
According to website of the peruvian parliamentthe project has been in the Justice and Human Rights Commission since April.
State of emergency after protests
In a message to the Nation at midnight on Monday, April 4, Castillo decreed a state of emergency in Lima and Callao and announced the immobility of citizens from 2 a.m. on Tuesday until 11:59 p.m. the same day.
The decree occurred after an extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers in the Government Palace led by the president, in which measures were discussed in the face of the protests of the transport unions in various regions of the country that began on March 28 due to the rise of fuel and that have left at least six people dead.
During the meeting on Tuesday between President Pedro Castillo and the board of directors in the Peruvian Congress, the president announced that he was revoking the immobilization decree.
Four cabinet makeovers
Since his inauguration as president on July 28, 2021, Castillo has passed through four government cabinets, the last one sworn in in February 2022.
This fourth and last cabinet is led by Aníbal Torres, appointed as president of the Council of Ministers, after the departure of the criticized Héctor Valer.
In addition, he has had seven Ministers of the Interior: Juan Carrasco Millones, Luis Barranzuela Vite, Avelino Guillén, Alfonso Chávarry Estrada, Dimitri Senmache Artola, Mariano González Fernández (he only lasted 15 days in office) and Willy Huerta Olivas.
Quit your own party
On June 30, Castillo announced on his Twitter account his resignation “irrevocable” to the Peru Libre party, for which he competed and won the 2021 elections.
Castillo said on the social network that his departure was respecting the “party and its bases built in the campaign.” In addition, he shared the document that he would have presented before the registry of political organizations of the National Elections Jury.
That same week, the National Executive Committee of the Peru Libre party issued a statement requesting the president’s resignation as a member of this partisan group, arguing, among other things, that “the policies undertaken by his government are not consistent with what was promised in election campaign.
Bonds to poor families
The Castillo government has launched a series of bonds for the poorest families in Peru, including the bond wanuchay, for very small farmers (it is endowed with 350 soles, about USD 90), and the bonus Yanapayfor people living in poverty, extreme poverty or under social programs.
Peru’s Economy Minister, Óscar Graham, said at a press conference in mid-July that he was “optimistic” that Congress would approve an expansion of the budget in order to finance a new bond for poor families affected by inflation, according to Reuters reported.
As in much of Latin America and the world, Peru has been seeing sharp price increases: the increase was 8.09% year-on-year in May, according to data of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru, after registering an annual average close to 2% between 2001 and 2021.
With information from Jimena de la Quintana, Kiarinna Parisi, Andy Ortiz, Stefano Pozzebon, Catherine E. Shoichet and Germán Padinger.