Peru appoints consensual president after week of chaos

In front of Congress, after the announcement of the resignation of interim president Manuel Merino, on November 15, in Lima.

For twenty-four hours, Peru remained headless. It was not until late Monday, November 16, after a week of political turmoil, that the situation was unblocked and Congress appointed its leader, MP Fernando Sagasti, from the Morado party (center ). He will become interim president Tuesday – the third in seven days. “What our country is lacking right now is confidence. Trust us, we will act as we say ”, he told Parliament.

The appointment of this 76-year-old former industrial engineer, who is a consensus among the population and the political class, follows long negotiations after the crisis caused by the dismissal, Monday, November 9, of President Martin Vizcarra (that Mr. . Sagasti did not vote) and the controversial accession to power of Congress President Manuel Merino, an ultra-conservative representative of the political old guard.

Historic protests followed for six days, with tens of thousands of Peruvians taking to the streets shouting “Merino resignation”. Peaceful protests, violently repressed by the police on Saturday evening, leaving 2 dead, nearly 70 injured and at least 5 missing. Mr. Merino finally resigned on Sunday.

Read also Peru: contested in the street, the interim president, Manuel Merino, resigns

Fernando Sagasti, founder of the Morado party (center), with a long and illustrious academic career, was chosen by 97 parliamentarians (26 voted against). Mirtha Vasquez, from Frente Amplio (left), an environmental lawyer, feminist and human rights defender, becomes the first vice-president of the Congress: she would be the one who would take her place if Mr. Sagasti in turn left the power.

“The designation of Sagasti is one of the best possible solutions, considers journalist Gustavo Gorriti, director of the investigative media IDL-Reporteros. The Morado party voted en bloc against impeachment and kept a totally coherent position in defense of democracy and against the usurpation of power by the far right which, fortunately, lasted only five days. ”

Mobilization of the “bicentennial generation”

In front of Congress and in many cities across the country, tens of thousands of people, mostly young people, gathered again Monday awaiting the vote, paying tribute in particular to Inti Sotelo, 24, and Bryan Pintado, 22 years, the two victims of police repression. Young people, until then indifferent to the country’s political life, reject corruption, patronage and the defense of particular interests on the part of parliamentarians. The mobilization of what is called the “bicentennial generation” (of the independence of Peru, which will be celebrated in 2021) surprised in a country not used to major popular movements.

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