Peru's President Resigns Ahead Of 2nd Impeachment Vote

Marsha Scott
March 23, 2018

Kuczynski survived his first impeachment by only eight votes.

Congress was scheduled to debate Thursday on whether to accept the resignation, which would transfer power to First Vice President Martin Vizcarra.

Del Castillo, who previously said there were no grounds for ousting Kuczynski, told Radio Programas the president should resign. Vice President Martin Vizcarra, now the ambassador to Canada, could be sworn in on Friday.

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski offered to step down Wednesday amid long-simmering corruption allegations and an explosive video that suggested his administration was trying to buy off legislators to avoid impeachment.

Popular Force - the country's most powerful opposition party - tried to impeach Kuczynski in December after revealing his company received money from Odebrecht - a Brazilian company at the centre of Latin America's biggest graft scandal - while he held public office more than a decade ago.

Keiko Fujimori, who has publicly taken distance from her father, accused Kuczynski of orchestrating the alleged vote-buying scheme.

Congress accepted his resignation within hours.

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Jaramillo stressed that the impeachment scenario that Kuczynski faced was different from the one he was due to face in December due to the video leaks and since the president had nothing to offer in exchange for his continuity, unlike he did in December, when he supposedly negotiated Fujimori's pardon.

Kuczynski had been scheduled to welcome Donald Trump on the U.S. president's first visit to Latin America next month, where numerous region's leaders plan to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to enact democratic reforms.

On her Twitter account, Keiko - who was Kuczynski's main rival in the 2016 election - said she was ashamed that her brother was involved. "But there are always fearless and dignified Peruvians who won't be bought". Another vote on his removal scheduled for Thursday was expected to be similarly tight. His escape was narrow enough to embolden opponents to make a second attempt, and on Wednesday, some lawmakers who previously supported him called for his resignation after allegations he sought to reward politicians in exchange for retaining power.

"Peru is a strong democracy, and we are confident the Peruvian people and institutions will address this situation according to Peru's constitutional norms", a spokesperson for the embassy said.

Kuczynski contends he left the reins of the consulting company in the hands of a business partner while he served in government, had no knowledge of the Odebrecht payments and paid taxes on all of his earnings.

In a video message to the nation, Kuczynski said he was resigning immediately because "permanent political confrontation" had made the country ungovernable.

Odebrecht has admitted spending millions to bribe government officials across Latin America to secure public works contracts.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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