Published: 14:34, November 28, 2023 | Updated: 17:02, November 28, 2023
Peru's president rejects 'despicable' prosecutor charge
By Reuters

Peru's President Dina Boluarte looks on during Summit Address and Invitation to APEC Peru 2024 at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week in San Francisco, California, on November 15, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

LIMA - Peru's embattled president rejected a formal complaint against her filed earlier on Monday by the attorney general, deriding it as "despicable" in brief public remarks, in the latest recriminations over deadly social unrest a year ago.

President Dina Boluarte, who took office last December following the controversial ouster and jailing of her predecessor, described the constitutional complaint issued by Attorney General Patricia Benavides as "causing astonishment".

If Congress accepts the attorney general's complaint, it could lead to Boluarte's removal from office

"We express our condemnation for such a despicable political maneuver that improperly uses the memory of deceased patriots to distract attention from a very serious complaint against the prosecutor herself," said Boluarte, referring to corruption accusations leveled against Benavides.

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The ouster of former President Pedro Castillo plunged the Andean country into weeks of angry and sometimes violent protests that claimed at least 40 lives. Hundreds more suffered injuries.

Boluarte previously served as vice-president to Castillo, who had unlawfully sought to dissolve Congress ahead of a planned vote by lawmakers to remove him.

Earlier on Monday, Benavides announced the complaint following a nearly year-long inquiry in a televised speech. She also rejected the investigations against her, which she said seek to "destabilize the independence of powers" in the South American country's politics.

The attorney general's office first announced in January it was launching a probe into Boluarte and members of her cabinet on charges of "genocide, qualified homicide and serious injuries."

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If Congress accepts the attorney general's complaint, it could lead to Boluarte's removal from office.

"The death of any Peruvian should not be allowed, as well as the abuse of power," said Benavides, whose complaint cites six specific victims.

Several anti-corruption prosecutors within the attorney general's office also called for the resignation of Benavides on Monday.

Meanwhile, Boluarte's approval fell to its lowest level to date in a poll published last weekend at just 8 percent, while her disapproval reached 85 percent, according to the IEP survey.