Three traditional left legislators have quit president Ollantu Humala’s Gana Peru party. The president use of force on anti-mining protests may lead to more departures and end his political majority.
In July 2011, when president Humala took office, he urged mediation to as the solution to the hundreds of protests in Peru over the distribution of natural resources. Those efforts to mediate stopped police clashes with protesters, who were erecting roadblocks.
Recently, president Humala has been criticized for his authoritarian stance in dealing with protesters. The president is a former military officer and has used his office to criminalize protests of over two hundred environmental disputes in Peru.
The environmental disputes tend towards water, mining and pollution. Moreover, the justice system has arrested local political leaders at rallies against mines owned by Xstrata and Newmont. Newmont plans to build the most expensive mining project in Peru’s history despite local concerns over water.
Despite the political turmoil, president Humala has an approval rating of more than fifty percent and the country’s economy is growing at six percent a year.