Peru loses its second president in a week

Manuel Merino announces his resignation on Sunday November 15.

The street got the better of Manuel Merino. Five days after his contested accession to power to replace Martin Vizcarra, dismissed from his post on November 9, the interim Peruvian president announced his resignation on Sunday November 15. The night before, a new pro-democracy demonstration had been severely repressed by the police, leaving at least two dead and a hundred injured. About 40 people are still missing.

Concerts of casseroles and scenes of jubilation resounded in Lima on the announcement of the resignation of Mr. Merino. Until then president of Congress, he had been appointed head of state on Tuesday, following the dismissal the day before, by 105 parliamentarians, of President Vizcarra. In the event of a vacancy in power, the Constitution provides for the President of Congress to be appointed President of the country.

The Peruvians, massively out in the streets, have been demanding since Monday the annulment of the dismissal of Mr. Vizcarra and the resignation of Mr. Merino. Faced with the violence of the police repression in the capital, two thirds of the ministers appointed by Mr. Merino had resigned in the early hours of Sunday. The leaders of the nine parliamentary groups, judging ” unsustainable ” the political situation, then gave an ultimatum to the interim president: either he resigned in his turn, or a meeting was called a few hours later to proceed with his dismissal.

Read also Peruvians protest against impeachment of President Martin Vizcarra

Gathered on Sunday evening to choose a new president of Congress, who will become interim president of the country until the presidential election in April 2021, the deputies have however failed to agree on a name – preferably among the 19 parliamentarians who did not vote for the dismissal of Mr. Vizcarra, to avoid a new rejection by the street. Peru therefore begins its week without the head of the executive or the legislature, even as the country is going through a social, economic and health crisis due to the Covid-19 epidemic. The debates were to resume Monday morning.

The negligence of the political class

In his speech on Sunday to announce his resignation, Manuel Merino refuted accusations that the impeachment of Martin Vizcarra, suspected of having received bribes when he was governor of Moquegua, between 2011 and 2014, was in actually a maneuver by a group of parliamentarians determined to seize power. “I accepted this challenge [de la prĂ©sidence], but I did not look for it “, he assured.

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