Accused of manipulating witnesses in an investigation into suspected corruption, Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra continues in power after the start of parliamentary proceedings against him failed.
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra escaped accusations of “moral incapacity”, his opponent failed to collect the number of votes sufficient to overthrow him, on Friday, September 18, in parliament.
The votes of 87 MPs out of the 130 that make up Peru’s unicameral parliament were needed to remove the center-right president, in power since 2018.
After ten hours of debate, only 32 deputies voted to support the deportation procedure for “moral incapacity”, which was launched last week by the same parliament following allegations of manipulation of witnesses in an investigation into suspected corruption.
>> To read: Dissolved by President Vizcarra, reshuffles Parliament and adjourned for one year
The case concerns the employment of a singer by the Ministry of Culture, justice suspects the artist of having benefited from a convenience agreement.
Audio recordings in which Martin Vizcarra asks witnesses to lie had triggered the vote on a motion by Parliament, 65 MEPs, out of the 52 required, after asking to initiate the deportation proceedings.
“The president lied to the people”
“The speed with which this process has been carried out reflects an institutional crisis that further discredits the democratic system in the eyes of the people,” political analyst Augusto Alvarez Rodrich told AFP.
At the beginning of the debate at 10 am (15 GMT), Martin Vizcarra went to Parliament to bring his case, although he is not obliged to do so by law: “I do not leave, I have not done it before and I do not intend to do it. but now he withdrew and gave the floor to his lawyer, Me Roberto Pereira, who asked for “rejection” of the procedure “because it suffers from a lack of characterization of facts”.
For Conservative MP Maria Teresa Cespedes, the dismissal was justified because “the president lied to the people”.
This political crisis does not suffer from ideological differences, as both the President and the majority of Parliament are center-right. According to analysts and in the eyes of the population, it will be a simple power struggle, with the controversy surrounding the singer’s contract as a pretext.
“Politicians should focus on other things that are much more important, namely the economic situation and the pandemic,” said David Gonzalez, a 53-year-old self-employed man.
Peruvian support for President Vizcarra
While Congress was discussing its future, Martin Vizcarra visited the city of Trujillo, in the north of the country, where he urged parliamentarians to “work together for (…) the people, for the young people who demand politicians to stop fighting and put Peru first”.
“No one comes out as a winner” because “the people have understood that there is a political struggle because the pandemic is killing Peruvians and the country is being thrown into frightening unemployment that will only recover in five years,” the political analyst added.
According to a poll released on Tuesday, 80% of Peruvians thought Martin Vizcarra, 57, should remain in power. The support he enjoys can be explained in particular by his displeasure with Parliament, unlike his predecessors, and by his fight against corruption.
Peru has experienced significant political instability in recent years, with the last four presidents struggling with the judiciary.
It is also one of the countries hardest hit in the world by the pandemic, with more than 750,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 31,000 deaths for a population of 33 million inhabitants.