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Corruption Fight Propels Rise of Peru’s Accidental President

  • Vizcarra confronts Lima establishment as opposition wilts
  • The tougher task is modernizing an economy based on copper
Martin Vizcarra

Photographer: Teo Bizca/AFP via Getty Images

In eight months, Peru’s Martin Vizcarra has gone from being a little-known caretaker president to the standard-bearer of an anti-corruption movement that has devoured some of the Andean nation’s most powerful figures.

As prosecutors delve deeper into a bribery investigation that has snared four former presidents and opposition leader Keiko Fujimori, Vizcarra is channeling public anger into a referendum meant to fight graft. Voters on Sunday will consider a new system for judicial appointments, tightening political-financing rules, adding an upper chamber to Peru’s unicameral congress and banning legislators from consecutive terms. Meanwhile, the president’s approval has surged to more than 60 percent.