Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski leaves Government Palace after presenting his resignation to Congress in Lima, Peru March 21, 2018. (Photo via REUTERS/Mariana Bazo)

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has submitted his resignation as president of Peru, a day before Congress was set to review another impeachment motion against him.

Current First Vice-President Martín Vizcarra, also currently Peruvian Ambassador to Canada, is next in line to be president. As of press time, Congress had not yet accepted the resignation.

Kuczynski was sworn-in as president in July 2016 and since then had a near-constant battle with an opposition-controlled Congress. His position as president had been under fire recently after audio and video images surfaced of government associates allegedly offering public works projects to opposition lawmakers in order from them to vote against impeachment.

Kuczynski survived an earlier impeachment attempt in December 2017, but had remained under pressure since. Shortly after the impeachment motion was voted down, Kuczynski signed a pardon for former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, who had been serving time for corruption and human rights violations. Fujimori’s daughter Keiko, a defeated presidential candidate in the 2016 elections, wields considerable power in the Peruvian Congress.

In his letter to Congress, Kuczynski denied any kind of wrongdoing and said that he was resigning for the benefit of the country, accusing the opposition of making Peru ungovernable with its attacks. He also said that the videos had been edited maliciously.

In light of the videos that had been published, members of the PPK (Peruano para el Kambio) caucus, Kuczynski’s allies in Congress, indicated this morning that they would vote in favor of impeachment if the president did not resign – perhaps sealing his fate. The impeachment proceedings – on the grounds that he was morally unfit for the position of president – were arranged before the broadcasting of the vote-buying videos and were connected to accusations stemming from bribery allegations associated with the sprawling Odebrecht scandal.

Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski addresses the nation as he resigns at the Presidential Palace in Lima, Peru March 21, 2018. Peruvian Government Palace/Handout via REUTERS
Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski addresses the nation as he resigns at the Presidential Palace in Lima, Peru March 21, 2018. Peruvian Government Palace/Handout via REUTERS

 

As such, Kuczynski becomes the first sitting head of government to be forced out of office as a result of the Odebrecht case. Accusations have been labelled against a host of Peruvian presidents, and today the Peruvian government approved an extradition request against former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo on bribery charges. Toledo is currently in the United States.

Peru hosts the Summit of the Americas on April 13-14.