President Martin Vizcarra weakened by an impeachment procedure

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra during a food distribution in the Lima suburb on September 15.

In Peru, political instability and the battle between the executive and the legislature is reaching new heights these days, as the coronavirus epidemic has killed more than anywhere else in the world as a proportion of the population (over 30,000 dead). Almost a year after the dissolution of Congress, it is the President of the Republic, Martin Vizcarra, who is this time in the hot seat.

A motion of censure, initiated by Parliament, was filed against the Head of State for “Permanent moral incapacity”, after the revelation of recordings implicating him in a corruption case. Martin Vizcarra, 57, came to power in March 2018 after the departure of Pedro Pablo Kuzcynski, who resigned over his alleged ties to Brazilian manufacturer Odebrecht. Vizcarra made corruption his hobbyhorse, before being confronted with the coronavirus crisis, in March.

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In the audio documents that filtered Thursday, September 10, the president is heard trying to influence witnesses to falsify their testimony as part of a judicial investigation. This case concerns alleged irregular contracts concluded in recent years between the Ministry of Culture and singer Richard Cisneros, for an amount of $ 50,000.

“Serious objective facts”, according to the criminal lawyer Rafael Chanjan, coordinator of the anticorruption project of the Peruvian Catholic University who, “If they are proven, would constitute an offense of obstruction of justice or would come under the concealment of facts” and for which “Vizcarra will have to answer in court”.

Door open to “arbitrariness”

Nevertheless, are these elements sufficient to dismiss a President of the Republic? No, according to this same lawyer, who considers that the concept of “permanent moral incapacity” brandished by Congress is “A constitutional text with blurred outlines” who should be “Delimited in a more rigorous way, for the most serious facts likely to taint the presidential function, which are proven and are not based only on suspicions”. Otherwise, it would be the door open to “Arbitrary” and “Instability”.

The executive has lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Court to annul the procedure, which it describes as “Conspiracy against democracy”, as the country faces the peak of the epidemic, which is just starting to ebb.

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