Lima: Peru’s Congress voted Monday to impeach and oust President Martin Vizcarra over allegations he took kickbacks from developers while serving as a regional governor in 2014.
After nearly eight hours of impeachment trials, the motion to remove the popular president was approved by 105 votes to 19, with 4 abstentions, far exceeding the 87 votes required for impeachment.
“The resolution declaring the vacancy of the presidency of the republic has been approved,” declared Congress leader Manuel Marino, who under the constitution will take over the presidential functions until the end of the current term in July 2021.
Vizcarra declared he was leaving office with his head “held high,” and ruled out taking legal action to resist Congress’s decision.
“I leave the government palace as I entered two years, eight months ago: with my head held high,” he said, surrounded by his ministers on the patio of the government house, adding he would leave immediately for his private home.
“I’m leaving with a clear conscience and with my duty fulfilled,” said Vizcarra, who enjoyed record levels of popularity in his 32 months in office.
After his impeachment, people held demonstrations in Lima and other cities to show their support for him.
Wizkala’s turbulent presidency ended in a similar fashion to that of his successor, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Kuczynski) is a former Wall Street banker who was forced to resign under the threat of impeachment due to corruption charges in 2018.
“Peru comes out weaker institutionally. Merino will be a weak president, that is the scenario in the context of general elections against the backdrop of a pandemic,” political analyst Augusto Alvarez Rodrich told AFP.
Peru will hold general elections and presidential elections in April 2021.
The 59-year-old Merino will be sworn in at a special session of Congress on Tuesday, becoming Peru’s third president since 2016, reflecting the institutional fragility of the South American country since its independence from Spain in 1821.
Constitutionally, the inheritance rights belong to the Merinos, because Vizcarra’s vice president, Mercedes Araoz, resigned a year ago after another political crisis.