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Peru’s Congress approves the removal of President Martín Vizcarra, accused of corruption

Vizcarra assumes the decision and rules out for the moment taking legal measures to avoid his dismissal

The President of Congress, Manuel Merino, assumes the interim Presidency and maintains the election date for April 11, 2021

The Congress of Peru approved this Monday by 105 votes in favor, 19 against and 4 abstentions, a motion of censure against the country’s president, Martín Vizcarra, “for permanent moral incapacity”, due to the latest episodes of a plot of corruption for which he would have received 2.3 million soles (about 543,000 euros) in exchange for public works contracts when he served as governor of Moquegua between 2011 and 2014.

This is the second motion of censure Vizcarra has faced in the last two months, after the previous one, presented for an alleged crime of influence peddling within the so-called ‘Richard Swing’ case, was rejected by the Congress.

On this occasion, Vizcarra’s dismissal has been endorsed by a large part of the political forces present in the chamber, such as Popular Action (AP), Alliance for Progress (APP), Popular Agricultural Front of Peru (FREPAP), Popular Force ( FP), Unión por el Perú (UPP), Podemos Peru (PP), and Frente Amplio (FP), while the Partido Morado (PM) and a majority of Somos Perú (SP) have been against.

For his part, after his dismissal was made official, Vizcarra regretted that “reason” has not been imposed in Congress, but “the number of votes of the people’s representatives,” whom he has accused of having forgotten “who they represent. “.

“Today I am leaving the Government Palace, today I am going home, despite the fact that there are innumerable recommendations for us to act through legal actions to prevent this decision,” Vizcarra said at the doors of the Executive headquarters.

Vizcarra has insisted during his appearance in his innocence and has indicated that “very soon it will be known” if this decision to expel him from the Presidency was carried out thinking about “the best for Peru”, or “if they are decisions only thinking about the interests of personal character”.

Hours before, during his defense in Congress, Vizcarra has criticized that the motion of censure is used “as a political weapon” every time a complaint is filed against him and has defended, in addition to his innocence, that the governance of Peru ” it cannot be under permanent threat. “

“Peru, to secure its future, requires stability, order and unity. But, above all, it requires its political forces to act with wisdom, prudence and a sense of responsibility,” Vizcarra said before the vote, reports the newspaper ‘El Comercio ‘.

The president of Congress, Manuel Merino, will assume the Presidency on an interim basis, as contemplated in the Constitution of the country, and has advanced that the date of elections will remain on April 11, 2021, as Vizcarra already set last July.

“What the Constitution establishes has been done,” said Merino, who will assume the post of head of state this Tuesday. “I ask for tranquility to all Peruvians and fundamentally to the media to ask them to collaborate because the country is above all,” he demanded.

In the last hours, the Peruvian press has released new information about the illegal charges that Vizcarra would have received from the construction company Obrainsa when he was governor of Moquegua, which would have favored the result of this latest motion of censure against him, which in the In recent weeks, he did not seem to have the necessary support.

Some accusations, defended Vizcarra, “biased” and “tendentious” with “the main objective of damaging the trust” that the country placed in him “less than 24 hours” before Congress had to make this decision.

The Peruvian media published over the weekend a series of messages that the already dismissed president exchanged since 2013 with the former Minister of Agriculture, José Hernández (2016-2018), and in which various issues were discussed, including , the motion of censure against former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018) and the collection of bribes.

Up to three aspiring collaborators of the Lava Jato special team, including a former senior official at Obrainsa – linked to the Brazilian Odebrecht – affirm that Vizcarra would have received some 543,000 euros in bribes in exchange for an irrigation project in 2013, and of a series of public contracts for the construction of a hospital.

These accusations are part of the investigation of the so-called ‘Construction Club’ case, a consortium of companies that since 2001 have been bribing public officials to obtain contracts throughout the country.

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