- The ground of Vizcarra's impeachment is accusations that he was involved in corruption when he was governor of the Moquegua region between 2011 and 2014.
- The presidency is now held by the president of Congress, Manuel Merino. Peru will hold it's presidential elections in April.
- Several recent Peruvian presidents have been removed in similar fashion.
The Peruvian Congress on Monday impeached the country’s President, Martín Vizcarra, on accusations of “moral incapacity.” It was the second impeachment attempt in less than two months against the outgoing president. The impeachment motion was overwhelmingly voted for, having managed 105 votes in its favor.
Only 87 votes were needed for it to go through. The ground of Vizcarra’s impeachment is accusations that he was involved in corruption when he was governor of the Moquegua region between 2011 and 2014.
The congressional decision surprised many political analysts in the country, as everything indicated that there would not be enough parliamentarians to approve the president’s removal from office.
The presidency is now held by the president of Congress, Manuel Merino. Peru will hold it’s presidential elections in April.
On Monday, Vizcarra personally presented his defense in Congress and categorically denied having received any kind of bribe. He made harsh criticisms of the dismissal process, which he said was opened based on claims not ratified by the courts.
The outgoing president has thus rejected the corruption allegations and termed them “baseless” and “false.” However, in a speech outside the presidential palace after his impeachment was assured, he that he would not challenge the decision. He reiterated that he was innocent and was willing to respond to any criminal charges brought against him.
Besides Vizcarra being accused of lying, immorality and corruption, he is also being held responsible for the political instability that the country is going through. The vote exposed Vizcarra’s unpopularity, even among members of his base.
In September, Vizcarra survived a first impeachment case, which ensued after his personal assistant leaked recordings in which the president was trying to hide his deals with a popular musician, Richard Swing, who won public contracts supposedly because he was his personal friend.
Successive Falls of Presidents in Peru
Vizcarra, who was initially vice president, took office in March 2018 after the resignation of then-President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, known as PPK. He had been accused of receiving bribes from Odebrecht and faced two impeachment attempts.
PPK was not the first president of Peru to be involved in Odebrecht scandals. In February 2016, his predecessor, Ollanta Humala, who ruled the country from 2011 to 2016, was accused of receiving bribes from the Brazilian contractor, but still remained in power until the end of his term.
Humala’s predecessor, Alan García, President of Peru from 2006 to 2011, also saw his name linked to suspicions of receiving bribes from Odebrecht and had a tragic fate. In April 2019, Garcia shot himself after becoming the target of a pre-trial detention order.
Alejandro Toledo, García’s predecessor, who ruled the country from 2001 to 2006, was also accused of receiving bribes from Odebrecht and was jailed in February 2017. He remained at large until July 2019, when he was arrested in the United States and currently faces an extradition process to Peru.