Peruvian Congress rejects bill calling for early elections

LIMA, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Peru's Congress on Friday rejected a bill to bring forward general elections from 2026 to December 2023, as protests continued across the country.

Hernando Guerra, president of the legislative constitution commission, presented the bill and explained that it would allow "enough time" to make corresponding electoral reforms, but failed to gain a congressional consensus broad enough.

Failing to get 87 votes needed to pass a proposal, the bill garnered 49 votes in favor, with 33 against and 25 abstentions.

The bill was presented amid a nation-wide political unrest following the ouster and arrest of former President Pedro Castillo on Dec. 7 and the swearing-in of vice President Dina Boluarte to take the place of Castillo.

Opposing Boluarte to hold the presidency till 2026, the bill aims to shorten her term of office to April 30, 2024, and Congress' term to April 28 of the same year.

According to official reports, over a dozen demonstrators have been killed since Sunday in protests demanding Boluarte's resignation, the shutdown of Congress, Castillo's release and early elections. The protesters have burned police stations, obstructed Peru's main highway and blocked access to airports, stranding hundreds of foreign tourists.

The United Nations on Friday expressed "deep concern" over reports of deaths of protestors in Peru.