Congress rejects proposal to move elections forward to December 2023, despite nearly two months of protests that have left dozens dead following ousting of ex-president Pedro Castillo.
Peru's congress has voted down a second bid to advance elections from April 2024 to this year, a move sought by President Dina Boluarte to calm deadly unrest amid anti-government protests.
After five hours of debate on Wednesday, lawmakers rejected a bill that would have advanced elections to December by 68 votes to 54, with two abstentions.
Within the deeply fragmented Congress, some lawmakers wish to finish their original term, while others want to go further and hold a referendum for a new constitution.
Peru has been embroiled in a political crisis with near-daily demonstrations since December 7, when then president Pedro Castillo was arrested after attempting to dissolve Congress and rule by decree.
In seven weeks of demonstrations, some 60 people have been killed in clashes between security forces and protesters, according to the human rights ombudsman's office.
Roadblocks erected by protesters have caused shortages of food, fuel and other basic commodities in several regions of the Andean nation.
Demonstrators demand the dissolution of Congress, a new constitution, and the resignation of Boluarte, who as vice president took over with Castillo gone.
READ MORE: Peru's president renews call for early elections amid protests
Majority wants election this year
In December, lawmakers moved elections originally due in 2026 up to April 2024 — but as protesters dug in their heels, Boluarte called for holding the vote this year instead.
A first bill to make this possible was voted down last week.
Boluarte has said that if a second attempt at passing the bill also failed, as it now has, she would propose a constitutional reform allowing a first voting round to be held in October and a runoff in December.
According to a survey by the Institute of Peruvian Studies, 73 percent of citizens want elections this year.
The January survey by local pollster also found that Congress is seen as corrupt and self-serving and has an approval rating of just 7 percent.
Boluarte fared little better at 17 percent.
READ MORE: Peru Congress declines president's proposal for holding early elections