Martín Vizcarra was sworn-in today as president of Peru, completing Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s exit from power.
Vizcarra, who flew into Lima from Canada in the early hours of Friday, called for “social pact” against corruption and promised to introduce a brand-new Cabinet. Until today Vizcarra was ambassador to Canada and also the first vice-president.
“The time has come to say enough. The serious events that have taken place recently require the responsibilities can be made clear and that any kind of irregularity be punished appropriately” said Vizcarra in a speech today.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski submitted his resignation as president of Peru on Wednesday, a day before Congress was set to review another impeachment motion against him. Today, following some back and forth over whether or not congress would accept Kuczynski’s resignation and plow on with impeachment, the resignation was finally accepted in a near unanimous vote and Vizcarra was sworn-in.
Congress is dominated by the opposition and Keiko Fujimori’s Fuerza Popular has been openly hostile to Kuczynski. Vizcarra will have to find a way to deal with Congress through the end of his term, which is scheduled to be in July 2021.
Kuczynski resigned 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. He had faced accusations of improper contacts with Odebrecht, the giant Brazilian construction company that has acknowledged paying bribes across the continent. The former president continues he did not engage in any wrongdoing.
Former president Alan García is in custody on graft charges, and there have been accusations against former presidents Ollanta Humala, Alejandro Toledo as well. Alberto Fujimori, former president, recently received a humanitarian pardon from Kuczynski that granted him release from prison where he was serving sentences for corruption and human right violations. His daughter Keiko has also been named in connection with Odebrecht bribes.
“The judiciary must act with independence, responsibility and with speed, but at the time what has occurred must be the end point for a politics of hatred and confrontation that has only hurt the country” said Vizcarra in his first address as president of Peru.
A civil engineer by training, Vizcarra is a former governor of the region of Moquegua. Prior to being named ambassador in Ottawa, Vizcarra was Transport Minister in the Kuczynski government but had to resign under pressure from Congress in May 2017 over alleged irregularities in a contract to build the Chinchero airport serving Cusco.
The political turbulence comes ahead of a crucial period as Peru hosts the Summit of the Americas on April 13-14.