Peru President Kuczynski Reported to Resign Ahead of ImpeachmentBy
Vice President Martin Vizcarra is next in line to run nation
Two Lima newspapers report development without naming sources
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned in the face of a forthcoming impeachment vote, according to two Lima-based newspapers.
Neither El Correo nor Gestion said where they obtained the information. He’s expected to address the nation by television shortly, according to state TV. On Wednesday, some lawmakers who previously supported Kuczynski called on him to resign after allegations he sought to reward congress members in exchange for helping him keep power.
Their defections doomed the former Wall Street financier’s presidency and would make him the first chief executive to fall as a direct result of the continent’s Carwash scandal. In a first attempt to remove the 79-year-old in December, the votes fell short on the back of abstentions and a split between different factions of the opposition.
On Wednesday, Peru’s currency gained on the reports of his resignation, rallying as much as 0.4 percent to 3.2516 per dollar, the strongest level in two weeks.
Kuczynski’s decision came after Jorge del Castillo, a legislator with the opposition Apra party, and three lawmakers who left Kuczynski’s party last year said that they were now in favor of impeachment. Their change of heart followed the release of secretly filmed videos that appear to show government-allied lawmakers telling a member of Peru’s biggest opposition party, Popular Force, that he would control public works in his jurisdiction if he abstains in Thursday’s vote to unseat the president.
Salvador Heresi, a lawmaker with Kuczynski’s Peruvians for Change party, said before the resignation that he would have voted for impeachment.
“What we saw in the videos released yesterday is disgraceful and gravely affects our democracy,” he said via Twitter.
The videos tipped the balance in favor of impeaching Kuczynski after claims that he lied to Congress to hide his ties to disgraced Brazilian builder Odebrecht, which is at the center of a continent-wide bribery probe dubbed Carwash. Del Castillo, who previously said there were no grounds for ousting Kuczynski, told Radio Programas the president should resign and allow Vice President Martin Vizcarra to take over.
Speaking to reporters before the videos were aired by Popular Force, Kuczynski said accusations of vote buying were “a big lie.”
Cabinet chief Mercedes Araoz denied the government offered projects or money to sway legislators, in comments to reporters Wednesday.
Transportation Minister Bruno Giuffra, who was mentioned by lawmakers on the videos, said he meets regularly with politicians of all parties to discuss public works.
“No one is doing anything irregular,” he said. “They are trying to impeach the president by any means necessary.”
In the videos, lawmakers Guillermo Bocangel and Bienvenido Ramirez, who defected from Popular Force last month, are seen telling lawmaker Moises Mamani that he’ll secure access to Kuczynski and ministers in exchange for his support. In one video, Ramirez says infrastructure projects in their jurisdictions are given preferential treatment at the Finance Ministry.
Ramirez told the Canal N network that he denied any wrongdoing and was simply showing off in front of Mamani.