In the Peruvian capital of Lima, speculation has been growing in political circles that Peru's military government will postpone next month's elections and form a crisis cabinet.
In the Peruvian capital of Lima, speculation has been growing in political circles that Peru's military government will postpone next month's elections and form a crisis cabinet. The speculation was fuelled by the deportation on Thursday (25 May) of 13 politicians, labour leaders and journalists in the wake of 10 days of rioting and a 48-hour general strike over huge food price increases announced by the government. The elections had been scheduled for 4 June.
SYNOPSIS: Soldiers are patrolling the streets of Lima and other cities in military vehicles following food price riots in which the official death toll stands at 26 with scores of people wounded and thousands arrested.
Since the rioting Lima has been relatively quiet as President Francisco Morales Bermudez' military government takes account of the situation. Informed political sources told Reuters news agency some Presidential aides have approached moderate politicians to take key posts in a crisis cabinet made up of civilians and military officers.
The National Bank in Lima and other financial institutions throughout Peru have been left in ruins after the rioting. The government's austerity package, which included a 50 percent increase in the price of many foods, has left the country's economic life almost at a stand-still.
The package was part of an attempt to win approval for international loans. Strong measures had been demanded by the International Monetary Fund and the major banks. The rise in food prices was accompanied by sharp increased in taxes and petrol prices. Most of the rises were the result of ending heavy subsidies which had kept prices artificially low.
Workmen in Lima have now started the huge task of clearing the streets of debris and rubble left from clashes between demonstrators and government security forces. Reuters quoted a prominent leftwinger in the city as saying life had returned to normal, disturbances had stopped and the government was bound to free those arrested last week.
Military sources were reported as saying that an overnight curfew imposed a week ago would be lifted soon, but it was increased by two hours on Tuesday (23 May) and still in force the following evening.
Meanwhile, the strictest security guards the streets of Lima as the "State of Emergency" continues. It includes bans on political campaigning and publication of independent political newspapers.