LIMA, Peru | Dina Boluarte (picture) was virtually unknown on the Peruvian political scene a year and a half ago, when she rode into office in July 2021 as Pedro Castillo’s vice president.
But on Wednesday she made history – becoming Peru’s first female president after Castillo was ousted from office amid an attempt to avoid an impeachment vote by dissolving Congress and ruling by decree.
A 60-year-old lawyer and mother, Boluarte became one of the Castillo government’s best-known faces due to her position as Minister of Development and Social Inclusion, a post she held simultaneously with the vice presidency up until two weeks ago.
Castillo, who after being removed from office on Wednesday was detained on charges of rebellion, had sidelined Boluarte from his latest cabinet reshuffle – the fifth of his short presidency.
“She has the profile of a fighting woman,” said leftist Congresswoman Sigrid Bazan of the new president.
Just two days ago, Boluarte narrowly avoided being disqualified from holding public office for 10 years, after a congressional commission dismissed a complaint that she committed an alleged constitutional violation.
The country’s comptroller had accused her of holding a private and public position at the same time, something prohibited under Peruvian law.
According to the Comptroller’s Office, Boluarte had signed documents as president of a club after she had already taken up her government post.
She admitted that she signed the documents, but cited various bureaucratic reasons for doing so. The club is made up of those who, like her, live in Lima but are from Apurimac, a region in the southeast of the country.
Mandate of the people
In July, Boluarte said she was willing to assume the office of president and even finish the term that runs until 2026, if Castillo – who was under investigation for corruption by the prosecutor’s office – was removed.
“There is a mandate that the people have given us, to govern for five years, and that is the only agenda we have. To work these remaining four years for the most vulnerable, the most needy,” she said.
Boluarte said that Castillo has repeatedly denied to her having committed any act of corruption. – AFP / pic Bloomberg