Peruvian President Pedro Castillo leaves Marxist political party that helped bring him to power

By July 5, 2022

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo has left Peru Libre, the Marxist political party that led him to the presidency last year, amid complaints from party officials that Mr. Castillo failed to achieve party goals.

Mr. Castillo registered as a member of Peru Libre on September 30, 2020, seven months before the 2021 presidential elections.

“Today I have submitted my irrevocable resignation to Peru Libre. The decision is due to my responsibility as president of 33 million Peruvians. I am respectful of the party and its bases built in the campaign,” Mr. Castillo wrote on June 30 on his Twitter, where he also published the full letter of his resignation sent to the National Elections Jury.

On June 28, Peru Libre’s National Executive Committee issued a statement requesting Mr. Castillo’s resignation, arguing, among other things, that “the policies undertaken by his government are not consistent with what was promised in the electoral campaign.”

Members of Peru Libre in Congress. Image courtesy of ANDINA

They claimed that Mr. Castillo has implemented a “looser neoliberal program” and announced that Peru Libre “will continue to fight for the conquest of its legitimate aspirations.”

The leaders of Peru Libre blamed Mr. Castillo for having promoted the “internal fracture of his caucus,” which went from having 37 members in July 2021 to just 16 in July of 2022.

In May of this year, 10 congressmen from Peru Libre resigned from the party. All outgoing members belong to a group of professors who were invited by Mr. Pedro Castillo to join Peru Libre in the 2021 presidential elections.

With the departure of this group, Peru Libre’s general secretary, Vladimir Cerrón, lost influence in Congress, as the dissident congressmen formed two different political parties.

Vladimir Cerrón, general secretary of Peru Libre party. Image courtesy of ANDINA

Losing support from Peru Libre in Congress would not be the only problem facing Mr. Castillo, since in May 2022 the Peruvian Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation against him for the alleged crimes of criminal organization, influence peddling and collusion.

According to the prosecutor’s thesis, Mr. Castillo heads a criminal organization that benefited from alleged corruption related to awarding public works contracts to Peruvian and Chinese construction companies for the construction of the Tarata bridge in north-central Peru.