Peru’s Castillo faces major challenges at the beginning of his presidency | Election News

Lima, Peru- For many years, Peruvians have been looking forward to the 200th anniversary of the independence of the Andean country on July 28, 1821. This is an auspicious day and aims to usher in a new, fairer and more prosperous society.

But as Pedro Castillo Sworn in as president On Wednesday, he and his 32 million compatriots will investigate a society almost paralyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, political instability, local corruption, and fierce election campaigns that have deeply divided Peruvians.

Little known before Rural school teachers and union leaders He was the unexpected winner of the presidential election earlier this year.Nearly one-third of voters still believe that his defeated opponent Fujimori Keiko Unsubstantiated claims Castillo attributed his victory to fraudulent votes.

However, by definition, the 51-year-old president is a truly historic president, the first “farmer” in Peru’s history, a subsistence farmer from various provinces, and has no connection with Lima’s power corridor before. .

“It’s time to rebuild great national unity,” Castillo said in his inaugural speech to Congress. “We will proceed in a democratic manner and seek a national consensus to ensure that on July 28, 2026, I will return to teaching.”

While he was speaking, the police kept his small group of supporters away from Congress. Most parts of Lima and the rest of the country remain quiet.

Political uncertainty

In addition to his daily work as a teacher at a rural elementary school, this inflammatory, ideologically amorphous leftist has until recently farmed a small plot of his family’s land and even used a horse-drawn plow to help plant crops.

This has led many people in the country to question whether Castillo is capable of leading Peru out of a deep and multifaceted crisis. The president’s own capricious and often contradictory campaign rhetoric reinforced their skepticism, and since the victory, Low-key public image.

The infighting within Castillo’s Socialist Liberal Peru Party also exacerbated his risk of becoming president, and the hardliners pushed him to appoint a firm left-wing cabinet from their own ranks—despite the fact that the new minister needs to pass voting confidence. Congress controlled by the conservative opposition.

A potentially ominous sign of this infighting is that Castillo’s campaign slogan is “The rich countries are no longer poor.” He has not officially appointed any cabinet candidates, and their swearing-in time has been postponed from Wednesday to Friday.

Pedro Castillo waves as he arrives at the inauguration of the Palacio de Torre Tagle in Lima [Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters]

“Even after being elected, Castillo remains an unknown,” Gonzalo Banda, a political scientist at Peru’s Catholic University of Santa Marta, Told Al Jazeera earlier this month.

However, not everyone agrees with Castillo that he lacks the political skills to take on huge new responsibilities.

“A lot of people underestimate him,” said Rafael Otero, a 46-year-old music producer from Lima. “He is an experienced union leader and an excellent negotiator. This is the first time in 200 years that a person like him who has no connection with the Lima establishment has become president. This is not accidental.”

COVID crisis

Castillo’s most immediate challenge will be to speed up the coronavirus vaccination work.

Peru is currently in a calm period between the second wave and the expected third wave of pandemics.But it can be said that no country has been severely hit by COVID-19. South American countries have recorded the world’s The highest death rate per capita.

So far, only 14% of Peruvians have been fully vaccinated.

The government of the outgoing interim president Francisco Sagasti has signed a contract to deliver 80 million vaccines this year. Although some in the Castillo transition team questioned whether these doses will actually be achieved, if the manufacturer delivers on time, they promise to have a huge potential boost to the political capital of the new president.

“This is worrying. The vaccination is finally going well, but no one knows whether Castillo will continue this situation,” said Carla Quispe, a 33-year-old clerk from Lima. “The first thing he should do is to clearly tell us what his vaccination plan is. It is easy to criticize from the outside, but now it is his responsibility.”

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