Peru Political Situation Part I

By | May 29, 2021

President Vizcarra and Congress President Manuel Merino

President Vizcarra and Congress President Manuel Merino

On Sunday November 16, Congress managed to set up a multi-party leadership committee. The plenary session of the Congress voted on this. Of the 123 parliamentarians present, 97 voted for and 26 against the composition. A President and three Vice-Presidents of the Congress were thus determined. At the head of the committee is the representative of the Purple Party, Francisco Sagasti Hochhausler, followed by Mirtha Vásquezby Frente Amplio, Luís Roel from Acción Popular and Matilde Fernández from Somos Perú. The elected representatives belong to parties that did not approve of ex-President Martín Vizcarra’s rise to office and thus did not accept the election of the resigned interim president Manuel Merino. According to the Constitution, as it stands, the President of Congress becomes President of the country. As a result, Francisco Sagasti was sworn in as President on November 17th, who gave a speech on the lines of the future government to Congress. On November 18, a cabinet was sworn in by the new President Sagasti, that of the lawyer Violeta Bermúdez and to which the former Health Minister Mazzetti, the Culture Minister Alejandro Neyra and the Labor Minister Palacios as well as the recognized economist Waldo Mendoza belong as finance ministers.

According to homosociety, the conservative lawyer Ántenor Florez Aráoz was entrusted with the formation of the cabinet on November 11th, which he presented a day later. The President swore in on November 12th. On the same day at 5 p.m., the largest demonstrations in Peru took place. These were directed against the interim president Manuel Merino. The security forces proceeded with unusual harshness and left 2 dead and 82 injured. As a result of these riots, Manuel Merino resigned after only 5 days in office. Now the congress is called upon to find a solution. On Sunday the faction leaders of the parties represented in Congress met and then the entire Congress was called to an extraordinary session with the aim of electing a successor to the resigned President. They met until midnight, but couldn’t agree on any candidate.

The meeting should continue on Monday. The country seems to be sinking into chaos and ungovernability.

On November 9, 2020, impeachment proceedings were initiated against President Martin Vizcarra. This time the impeachment motion was accepted by 105 of the 130 parliamentarians. Thus, on November 10, Congress President Manuel Merino took over the presidency. The motion was preceded by further allegations of corruption against the previous president. Although the reason for the motion was “permanent moral incapacity,” the Congressional debate was more about settling accounts with the Vizcarra government. The President Vizcarraaccepted the decision of Congress. The change of power comes at a very bad time. The current focus is on working with united forces against the corona pandemic and for the revival of the economy. The handover of government will be costly and time-consuming and will not be useful in overcoming the rift between the camps. A mood against the approach of the Congress can be felt in the country: Politicians and experts have spoken out against the approach and numerous people have taken to the streets in various cities in the country.

Between September 10 and 18, 2020, Peru experienced a political earthquake. Chaos and ungovernability seemed to threaten the country. As in previous situations, the discord emanated from Congress. At a congressional meeting held on September 10, Congressman and ex-auditor Edgar Alarcón went to Congress President Manuel Merino and gave him three audio recordings. The Congress agenda was interrupted and the audios played in front of the assembled parliamentarians.

On the same day, a motion to impeach the president for “permanent moral incapacity” was filed. The audios suggested that President Vizcarra, people close to him in the government palace, was giving false testimony in a case of nepotism could have influenced. The date for the vote on the impeachment motion was set for September 18. A report in the investigative portal of ” IDL-Reporteros ” on September 12th revealed that the timing of the announcement of the audios was no coincidence. It reads that even before the impeachment motion, Congress President Manuel Merino sought contact with the Chief of the Armed Forces, General César Astudillo and other high-ranking military officials. Merino wanted to get the support of the armed forces in order to be able to take over the business of government after Vizcarra was voted out. The maneuver by parts of Congress was so obvious that many MPs distanced themselves from the impeachment process.

On September 18, with 15 abstentions, 78 votes against and 32 for. Vizcarra remains at the helm of the executive branch and can focus on fighting pandemics and boosting the economy again. In the meantime, the election campaigns for the presidential and congressional elections to be held next April are under way. In the first polls in September, the first presidential candidates emerged from the electorate. Among them are the mayor of the densely populated Lima district “La Victoria” George Forsyth with 23%, the ex-general Daniel Urresti with 9% and Keiko Fujimori with 7%. Other well-known politicians such as Hernando de Soto, Pedro Cateriano, Veronika Mendoza, Marco Arana are also in discussion.