Peru’s president impeached out of office over corruption

Young journalists club

News ID: 49180
Publish Date: 12:58 - 10 November 2020
Tuesday, 10 November 2020_Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra has been ousted by the country’s legislators in an impeachment vote over corruption, prompting tensions in the Latin American country.

Peru’s president impeached out of office over corruption“Today, I am leaving the presidential palace. Today, I am going home,” Vizcarra said in a speech at the presidential residence in the capital, Lima, on Monday night, while surrounded by his cabinet members.

He said he would accept the legislative vote and would not launch a legal challenge against it.

The Peruvian president, however, had rejected the corruption charges against him as “baseless” and “false,” and earlier on Monday warned of “unpredictable consequences” if lawmakers impeached him prior to the country’s next presidential election, on April 11, 2021, in which he is not eligible to run.

The 105 votes in favor of his impeachment far exceeded the 87-vote threshold required to remove him from office. Nineteen lawmakers in the congress voted against his ouster and there were four abstentions.

The move marked the second bid by lawmakers to remove the centrist Vizcarra in recent months as the opposition-dominated congress impeached him over allegations that he accepted bribes from companies that won public works contracts when he was a governor.

Vizcarra survived a first impeachment vote in September in a separate trial over alleged links to a case of irregular government contracts with a little-known singer. However, only 32 lawmakers voted in favor of his ouster then.

Congress Speaker Manuel Merino, from the minority Popular Action, is expected to take over as president on Tuesday and will remain in office until the end of July 2021, when Vizcarra’s term was due to expire.

Merino, an agronomist and businessman, called for calm following the impeachment vote and assured Peruvians that the April 11 presidential election would be held as planned.

“It is already called for,” he said of the election in an interview with local broadcaster America Television.

The development came as the 57-year-old Vizcarra lacked a party in the fragmented congress and maintained a tense relationship with lawmakers, with whom he frequently argued over his anti-graft agenda. He had dissolved congress last year following a long-running impasse, a move that triggered harsh criticism from right-wing lawmakers.

Vizcarra’s government also clashed with Merino in recent months over allegations that he tried to invoke the military in his calls for Vizcarra’s removal, though Merino denied any wrongdoing.

Lawmakers backing Vizcarra, however, rejected his ouster and warned that the decision would intensify instability in the Andean country.

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