Lima, Peru – Peru’s Congress on Friday voted against charges of obstructing justice to begin impeachment hearings against President Martine Vizcarra, a move that has resulted in the country facing the world’s worst coronovirus outbreak in office May lead to their rapid removal.
An audio recording released in Congress on Thursday created a political crisis that showed the president instructing officials to lie about an anti-impact scandal.
The impeachment is the latest battle in the deadlock prevailing between Mr Vizkara, a divided Congress hostile to the former governor of a popular center and his efforts to pass anti-corruption measures and change the country’s judicial and political system.
In January, a tense congressional election led to tensions. Now the deadlock may interfere with the country’s response to coronavirus.
Despite implementing the SWIFT epidemic measures, Peru now has the highest number of per capita deaths in the world from coronaviruses. Once the region’s fastest growing economy, according to a government forecast, it is expected to contract 12 percent this year, the deepest recession in a century.
Mr. Vizkara said that the audio recording was manipulated, and he refused to constitute anything illegal, too few grounds for impeachment.
“It is a lie that attempts to destabilize democracy and control the government,” Mr. Vizcar said. “If you want to dislike me, here I am, at the sound of my conscience.”
If he is voted out, the current president of Congress, Manuel Willow, a right-wing businessman who is opposed to Mr. Vizkara, will become chairman.
On Friday, 65 MPs in the 130-member body voted to initiate proceedings against Mr. Vizkara, although not all members voted. Opponents of the Congress president would eventually need 87 votes to remove him.
Allegations of political corruption have long been used to settle political scores in Peru, which have struggled to build democratic institutions after decades of military and authoritarian rulers. Four of Mr. Vizcarra’s predecessors have been investigated or charged with corruption.
One, Alan Garcia, committed suicide last year as police arrived at his home to arrest him in a graft investigation.
However, rather than taking out the deep-seated culture of grafts, political scrutiny of top officials has reduced the country’s stability and thwarted much-needed reforms.
“All of Vizkara’s energy goes into political fire, limiting the government’s ability to implement the policies demanded by the people,” said Jimena Blanco, principal analyst at Veris Maplecroft, US, a political risk consultant.
A former vice president, Mr. Vizcarra, took office in 2018 when his predecessor resigned to avoid impeachment in a corruption scandal. Since then, Mr Vizkara has had a rocky relationship with MPs, who have blocked his anti-corruption proposals.
However, these proposals have made Mr. Wijker one of the most popular presidents in the country, allowing him to image as a reformer who is independent of the country’s corrupt elites.
He has filled his cabinet with technical experts, distancing himself from the influence-peddling of the country’s traditional parties.
When the epidemic struck, they responded by conducting large-scale trials, and some of the region’s most stringent quarantine measures and most comprehensive economic aid packages.
Peru’s deep inequality and poor health care system, however, were soon overwhelmed by its epidemic measures, increasing dissatisfaction with the country’s political system. More than 30,000 Peruvian people have died in the epidemic.