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Peruvian President Dina Boluarte under fire for unexplained luxury watches

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Raiding the president’s house

Armed police officers broke down the front door of Boluarte’s house with a battering ram on Good Friday in search of Rolex watches. The raid marked the first time in Peru’s history that police forcibly entered the home of a sitting president.

Prosecutors said they had requested the watches from Boluarte, but they had not been handed in and the raid produced “elements of interest” for the investigation.

Police guard outside President Dina Boluarte’s house during a raid ordered by the attorney-general’s Office.

Police guard outside President Dina Boluarte’s house during a raid ordered by the attorney-general’s Office.Credit: AP

Local media outlets published documents from the raid showing at least one Rolex watch, a Datejust 36 model with a purchase date of July 8, 2023. A similar model on Rolex’s website costs at least $22,700.

Eight lower-priced watches from other brands were found in the Government Palace, according to local media reports. Boluarte’s annual salary as president is about $77,000, with expenses and housing paid for by the state.

What happens next

Mostly left-wing opposition legislators presented a motion in Congress on Monday to begin Boluarte’s impeachment for “permanent moral incapacity”. Only 26 of 130 legislators are needed to start the process, 52 votes are needed to debate the impeachment in Congress and 87 are needed to impeach.

Boluarte has already survived two attempts to start impeachment proceedings but both failed to receive the required 52 votes. Impeachment is unlikely since right-wing legislators have a majority in congress and support her.

Six of Boluarte’s ministers, including the interior minister, resigned over the scandal on Monday.

Gustavo Adrianzen, who took over as prime minister in March, must be confirmed by Congress on Wednesday and if he fails the vote of confidence, Boluarte’s entire cabinet must resign.

What happened to Peru’s other presidents?

Peru’s politics are highly polarised and the constitution allows presidents to be impeached for “moral incapacity” – a subjective measure that’s been used to impeach several former leaders.

Almost all high-ranking officials or former Peruvian presidents have been investigated or have been involved in corruption cases in the last three decades.

After being elected in 2016, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned prior to a likely conviction after being successfully impeached in 2018 amid a corruption scandal. His vice president, Martin Vizcarra, then took over but was also impeached for “permanent moral incapacity” due to corruption charges in 2020.

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Manuel Merino took over as president for just five days, resigning after two protest deaths in Lima. Francisco Sagasti then took power for a year until leftist outsider Pedro Castillo was elected in 2021.

Castillo was impeached in December for trying to dissolve congress. Castillo is now jailed in the same prison as another former president Alejandro Toledo. They shared the prison with former president Alberto Fujimori who was released last December after a pardon.

Reuters, AP

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