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Peru President Unveils New Bill for 2023 Election Amid Congress Infighting

A protester carries his dog on the back of his bike during an anti-government march in Cusco, Peru, Feb. 2, 2023.
A protester carries his dog on the back of his bike during an anti-government march in Cusco, Peru, Feb. 2, 2023.

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte has put forward a new bill to bring elections forward to 2023 in a bid to calm protests around the country as a fractured Congress has repeatedly failed to come to an agreement after weeks of political infighting.

The bill, seen by Reuters, proposes holding congressional and presidential elections in October this year with elected officials taking power in late December. Elected officials would serve a five-year term until July 2028.

The Andean country is in the grip of some eight weeks of anti-government protests with 48 people killed in clashes between demonstrators and security forces, mostly in Peru's copper-rich south. Fast new elections have been a key demand of protesters after former left-wing President Pedro Castillo was ousted in December.

Prime Minister Alberto Otarola is scheduled to present the executive branch's bill to a congressional commission Friday afternoon.

The new bill comes after a series of early elections proposals have failed in Congress.

Peru Libre, Castillo's party, submitted a bill for early elections and a non-binding referendum for a new constitution that was voted down Thursday night.

Another proposal was rejected Wednesday after days of closed-door negotiations failed to yield a consensus, with fragmented political parties unable to agree on how to move forward despite widespread public support for a snap vote.

Some right-wing members are opposed to having their terms cut short, while left-wing factions have said they will not support a bill unless it also includes a non-binding referendum for a new constitution.

Boluarte, Castillo's former deputy who took over after he tried to illegally dissolve Congress, announced plans for bills for snap elections and a constitutional rewrite over the weekend after violent protests in the capital that left one dead.

Protesters around Peru have blocked highways with trees, boulders and tires, taken over regional airports and burned buildings, impacting goods transport, business and the operation of some key mines in the world's No. 2 copper producer.

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