Peruvian political crisis unresolved, new president resigns under pressure
Peruvian President Merino, who has been in office for less than a week, accepted the request of Congress on the 15th under the pressure of popular protests and announced his resignation. The Peruvian Congress then convened a plenary meeting to accept Merino’s resignation by voting and began to elect a new president of the Congress.
According to the Peruvian Constitution, when the President is unable to perform his duties, the Vice President shall replace him. Since the post of Vice President of Peru has been vacant since October last year, the President of the Congress will take over. Up to now, the parties in the Congress have failed to reach an agreement on the candidate for the new Congress chairman, and a power vacuum has temporarily appeared in Peru’s political arena.
The cause of the current political crisis in Peru is the impeachment and dismissal of former President Vizcarra by the Congress, which triggered a wave of public protests.
In October of this year, the Peruvian United Party accused Vizcarra of accepting bribes from government engineering contractors when he became the governor of the southern province of Moquegua in 2014, and therefore did not possess the moral qualities to continue to serve. On November 9, the Peruvian Congress voted to pass the impeachment bill of Biscala and remove him from his presidency. The then President of the Congress Merino was sworn in as the President of Peru the next day and appointed the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) on the 11th. On the 12th, the new cabinet members were sworn in.
After the dismissal of Vizcarra, national protests and demonstrations broke out in Peru for days. The demonstrators expressed dissatisfaction with the dismissal of Biscala and demanded Merino’s resignation. During the protests on the 14th, demonstrators clashed with the police. Two people were killed and nearly a hundred others were injured in the capital Lima. Subsequently, 13 of the Peruvian cabinet members announced their resignations.
Some Peruvians believe that the presidential election will be held in April next year. At a time when Coronavirus pandemic is so severe, members of Congress have initiated the impeachment process and the chairman of the Congress will take over as the president. They only care about their own interests and ignore the suffering of the people.
In March 2018, Vizcarra succeeded Kuczynski, who had resigned due to corruption, as the President of Peru. Later, he launched an anti-corruption campaign in the country, soliciting opinions from the public on the prohibition of receiving political contributions and prohibiting re-election of parliamentarians. As the opposition dominates the Congress, Vizcarra’s reform measures cannot be implemented. The relationship between the government and the court continued to deteriorate, and finally a constitutional crisis broke out in September last year, and Vizcarra announced the dissolution of the parliament. In January this year, Peru elected a new Congress, but the relationship between the government and the Congress continued to be tense. Vizcarra repeatedly criticized the opposition for trying to create chaos and unrest.
Analysts believe that although Peru has a presidential system, the Congress is actually more powerful. In the future, the new president should effectively strengthen communication with all parties in Congress and obtain sufficient support, otherwise the new government will encounter huge resistance.