Peru’s Castillo assumes presidency amid political storms in divided nation

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LIMA, July 28 (Reuters) – Peru’s Pedro Castillo will assume the presidency in the coming hours with little time to catch his breath as he battles the world’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, tensions in his socialist party and weak congressional support in a starkly divided nation.

Castillo, the son of peasant farmers, will be sworn into office at midday local time (1700 GMT) on Wednesday in Congress and will then address the nation, which was split almost in half by a polarized June 6 ballot won by a margin of just 44,000 votes.

His inauguration will be attended by heads of state and senior ministers from around the region, including Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez, Bolivia’s President Luis Arce, the king of Spain, a U.S. delegation and the Cuban foreign minister. Rumours that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will attend the event have not been confirmed.

The abrupt rise of Castillo, a former teacher, has shaken…

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