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Peru to hold impeachment vote against president

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Peru to hold impeachment vote against president

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Photo: Peruvian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra is set to face impeachment proceedings today on charges of misuse of funds and influence-peddling.

Vizcarra is dealing with a political firestorm as Peru grapples with the world’s highest pandemic-induced death toll per capita. Speaker of the Parliament Manuel Merino—who is next in line should Vizcarra be replaced—has called for the president’s impeachment following the release of audio recordings that allegedly show the president instructing officials to downplay the accusations.

This is the most recent battle in a long political war between the centrist reformer Vizcarra and a congress unwilling to overhaul Peru’s judicial system to root out corruption. 65 out of 130 lawmakers initially voted to proceed with the hearings as the opposition tried to muster the remaining 22 votes required for an impeachment verdict. If the necessary votes are gathered, a popular reform-minded president is likely to be replaced by a right-wing businessman.

However, since the initial vote, at least two political parties have stated they would withdraw their support for impeachment, dimming Vizcarra’s prospects of being ousted. Unfortunately, either verdict that comes after today’s impeachment proceedings would bring further economic woes for Peru. To ordinary citizens, the legislative attention and resources spent on this political squabble would be severely detrimental as the economy faces a 12% contraction this year.

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