Peru's Castillo forced to stay in country as Cabinet crisis continues

·1 min read
Peru's president Pedro Castillo delivers his address to the nation

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru's Congress on Thursday forced President Pedro Castillo to stay in the country this week as he navigates a leadership crisis, without a prime minister and with a new Cabinet expected to be sworn in on Friday.

Castillo had sought to travel to Colombia for the inauguration of left-wing President Gustavo Petro this week.

The rejection of his travel request by the opposition-led Congress is unprecedented since Peru passed its current constitution in 1993.

This comes as some lawmakers are calling for Castillo to be impeached again. Castillo, who took office a year ago, has already survived two impeachment attempts and is facing mounting crises.

Prosecutors have opened five criminal investigations against him, while his administration has seen unprecedented turnover in senior leadership roles, with his fourth prime minister resigning unexpectedly on Wednesday.

A lawyer for Castillo said the President had testified in one of the five open cases against him on Thursday, but had invoked his right to remain silent.

Among other issues, the probes are investigating whether he obstructed justice when he fired an interior minister and whether certain police and military appointments were improper.

Castillo has denied allegations of wrongdoing and said he will cooperate with any probes. In Peru, a president can be investigated while in office but cannot be charged.

Castillo, a peasant farmer and former school teacher, won the presidency on a leftist platform to lift the poor and fund new social programs.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Frances Kerry, Paulo Prada and Himani Sarkar)

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