Political battle in Peru, between a dissolved parliament and a suspended president

The opposition-dominated Congress has nominated Vice President Mercedes Araoz as the interim head of state, pending a vote to oust Martin Vizcarra for good.

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Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra in Lima on 27 September. Martin Mejia / AP

The Opposition-dominated Parliament of Peru on Monday (September 30th) voted to suspend President Martin Vizcarra for one year "Moral incapacity" after the latter pronounced the dissolution of the Chamber against a background of institutional crisis.

In the aftermath, the parliament, controlled by supporters of former president Alberto Fujimori (in power between 1990 and 2000), appointed the vice president, Mercedes Araoz, acting head of state, replacing M Vizcarra.

Mme Araoz, a 58-year-old economist, was sworn in immediately before the Speaker of Parliament, Pedro Olaechea. The latter then said that the MPs will formally vote on Friday a motion dismissing Mr. Vizcarra definitively.

"We are facing a coup", fired the deputy Jorge Del Castillo, ally of the opposition, to justify the sling of the Parliament, "I hope that the armed forces and the police will not join this charade".

But the main army and police chiefs went to the presidential palace in Lima to reaffirm "Their full support for the constitutional order and President Martin Vizcarra as supreme leader"announced the presidency on Twitter by posting a photo of the meeting.

Earlier Monday, Martin Vizcarra announced in a televised speech the dissolution of Parliament and the early parliamentary elections, for lack of resolving a violent quarrel with the opposition fujimorizes about the method of appointment of judges to the Constitutional Court.

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The fear of early elections

Demonstration in front of the Congress, on September 30 in Lima.
Demonstration in front of the Congress, on September 30 in Lima. TARQUI PALOMINO / AFP

The Constitutional Court, the highest court in Peru, is currently considering the release of opposition leader Keiko Fujimori.

The latter, the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, has been incarcerated for eleven months as part of the vast corruption scandal Odebrecht – named after the Brazilian construction giant – which splashes the Latin American political class.

The fujimorises currently hold a majority in Parliament but, in tumble in the polls, they fear the prospect of early elections.

Martin Vizcarra, on the contrary, enjoys a high popularity because of his uncompromising opposition. The 56-year-old engineer succeeded Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in 2018, where he was vice-president, who was forced to resign because of suspected corruption.

Demonstration in front of the Congress, on September 30 in Lima.
Demonstration in front of the Congress, on September 30 in Lima. Rodrigo Abd / AP


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