Dina Boluarte: Peru's first female president

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Peru's Vice President Dina Boluarte attends the 29th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok, Thailand, 19 November 2022.Image source, EPA
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Dina Boluarte was Peru's vice-president before being sworn in as the president

There has long been a woman trying - and failing - to become Peru's first female president.

But in a surprising turn of events, the woman to be sworn in as Peru's new leader on Wednesday was the relatively unknown Dina Boluarte, and not Keiko Fujimori, who had run for the office three times and lost.

Ms Boluarte, a 60-year-old former lawyer, became president almost by accident after her predecessor, Pedro Castillo, was impeached by Congress following his attempt to dissolve the legislative body.

As Peru's vice-president and Mr Castillo's running mate, she was next in line to take office and Congress swore her in within hours of impeaching Mr Castillo.

Her background is very different to that from Ms Fujimori, the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who grew up in the highest political circles in Lima.

Ms Boluarte, on the other hand, was born in the southern town of Chalhuanca, the youngest of 14 children.

She had first planned to study nursing in Cusco, but decided that she was more interested in law, which she studied in the capital, Lima.

For 17 years, she worked for Peru's public records office.

Her political career is short, having run for office for the first time four years ago when she tried to run for the post of mayor of the district of Surquillo in Lima.

In 2020, she unsuccessfully ran for Congress for the left-wing Peru Libre party - another thing that sets her apart from Ms Fujimori, who is a right-winger.

A year later, she became Mr Castillo's vice-presidential running mate.

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Watch: Three dramatic moments from the day Peru's president was ousted

The two won the election by a narrow margin against Ms Fujimori and her running mate, Luis Galarreta.

As well as serving as vice-president, Ms Boluarte was named minister for development and social inclusion.

In a sign of a growing split between her and Mr Castillo, she resigned from her ministerial post two weeks ago citing disappointment with his choice of prime minister.

She did remain in her post of vice-president but minutes after his shock announcement that he was dissolving Congress, Ms Boluarte broke with her former ally for good.

She took to Twitter, where she denounced his move as "a coup d'etat which deepens the political crisis".

With Congress quickly moving to impeach Mr Castillo, Ms Boluarte was summoned to the building to take the oath of office as president.

In her acceptance speech, she called for "a political truce to install a government of national unity".

Peru's Congress is notoriously combative and political infighting is the norm.

But in a surprise development, one of those who threw her considerable political weight behind Ms Boluarte was Keiko Fujimori, the woman she beat to the presidency.

"Let's hope that the president appoints a broad-based cabinet, a very good cabinet and we must all do everything possible to make it work well," Ms Fujimori tweeted.

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