Peruvian president impeached and stepped down, political instability raises concerns
On the 9th, the Peruvian Congress voted to pass the impeachment bill against President Vizcarra and remove him from his presidency on the grounds of suspected corruption. This is the second time he has been impeached by Congress and has since stepped down.
Analysts pointed out that the frequent impeachment of the Peruvian President and other deep-seated reasons have caused concerns that are not conducive to the country’s political and economic stability and the fight against Coronavirus Pandemic. The dismissal of Biscala has aroused dissatisfaction among many political and business people and the public, and may have an impact on the general election scheduled for next April.
The presidential recall crisis was mainly triggered by the Peruvian Union Party’s motion to impeach the president. In October of this year, the party accused Vizcarra of accepting bribes from government contractors during his tenure as the governor of the southern province of Moquegua in 2014, and therefore did not possess the moral qualities to continue to serve. On November 2, the Peruvian Congress passed a motion to impeach Vizcarra, requiring him to accept the Congress’s question and defend himself on the 9th, and then the Congress members will discuss and vote.
In his statement before the Congressional debate, Vizcarra stated that the evidence presented by the opposition was “false” and unproven. Without conclusive evidence and legal basis, Congress cannot impeach on the grounds of “uncoordinated virtue”. The President, otherwise he would violate his “due process rights.”
This is the second time Vizcarra has encountered an impeachment crisis. On September 10, dozens of congressmen from six parties in Congress initiated a motion for impeachment against Biscala on the grounds that he allegedly prevented Congress from investigating a dispute over the appointment of a pop singer as a government cultural consultant. The impeachment case was not supported by a two-thirds majority in the parliamentary vote on September 18, and Vizcarra was exempted from removal.
Analysts believe that although Biscala has been impeached by Congress twice in succession, although the surface reason is suspected of corruption, there are actually deeper reasons.
Government disputes are the norm in Peruvian politics. President Kuczynski, who came to power after the 2016 general election, has been impeached twice and eventually resigned in March 2018. Biskala, who succeeded Kuczynski, has no political background and has faced many difficulties after coming to power, especially his anti-corruption measures such as prohibiting convicted officials from running for public office again, restricting the judicial immunity of parliamentarians, and revising the electoral procedures of the Constitutional Court judges. The reform met opposition in Congress. On September 30 last year, Del Solar, then Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister), initiated a motion of confidence in Congress to modify the election procedures for the Constitutional Court judges. However, Congress did not discuss the motion, and Del Solar resigned as a result.
After the resignation of Del Solar, Vizcarra announced the dissolution of the Congress, and the new Congress was elected at the end of January this year. But only more than seven months later, the new Congress began to impeach the president. Some analysts believe that this may be due to Vizcarra’s reform measures affecting the interests of members of Congress. Vizcarra himself has stated that since he took office, his government has taken all actions to combat corruption and acted in a correct, clean, and transparent manner, affecting the interests of some organizations and groups. He said that some people pushed for impeachment because of political and economic interests.
In addition, Congress’ attempts to postpone the presidential and congressional elections scheduled for April next year are also considered to be one of the reasons for its impeachment. The chairman of the Peruvian Council of Ministers, Matos, has recently clearly accused the Peruvian United Party of launching a presidential impeachment motion to postpone the 2021 election.
The successive presidential impeachment crises have caused great controversy in Peru. Some people believe that impeaching the president is not conducive to the country’s political and economic stability and the fight against Coronavirus Pandemic . If there is a problem with Vizcarra, it should be dealt with after his resignation. During the impeachment proceedings in September, polls showed that nearly 80% of the people supported Vizcarra to complete the presidency.
People in the economic circles worry that the continuous impeachment of the parliament will have an impact on investment projects and companies in Peru. Peruvian Institute of Economic Research expert Diego Marcella said that although the impeachment of the president is within the power of Congress, it will not help the recovery of the Peruvian economy. He said that the Coronavirus Pandemic has brought Peru the worst economic crisis in 100 years, and new political tensions will complicate everything.
Vizcarra is very popular among the people for its anti-corruption reforms. Recent polls show that although its approval rate has fallen due to corruption allegations, it still exceeds 50%. After the Congress voted to remove the president, some local governments expressed that they would not accept the decision of the Congress. The citizens of the capital Lima and major cities in the provinces of Junin, Tacna, and Huanuco took to the streets to hold protest rallies and demonstrations that night.
However, after receiving the decision to dismiss the Congress, Biscala said that he accepted the decision and would not initiate any legal proceedings against Congress’s actions. According to the Peruvian Constitution, when the President is unable to perform his duties, the Vice President shall replace him. Since Peru’s Vice President Araus resigned in October last year, Congress Chairman Merino will succeed the presidency. Some analysts believe that after Merino becomes president, the possibility that the election will be postponed will greatly increase.