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  • A person protests against Manuel Merino today in Lima, Peru. As citizen protests since last Monday night have shown, a large part of Peruvians reject the fact that the President of Congress, Manuel Merino, has assumed the nation´s presidency and demand that Martin Vizcarra be reinstated in office and finish his mandate.

    A person protests against Manuel Merino today in Lima, Peru. As citizen protests since last Monday night have shown, a large part of Peruvians reject the fact that the President of Congress, Manuel Merino, has assumed the nation´s presidency and demand that Martin Vizcarra be reinstated in office and finish his mandate. | Photo: EFE

Published 12 November 2020
Opinion

The former anti-corruption prosecutor claims that behind Manuel Merino, the head of the Peruvian Congress, there are a significant number of criminal organizations that hold him in power.

During an interview granted this Thursday to HispanTV, former anti-corruption prosecutor Julio Arbizu has addressed the issue of the removal of President Martin Vizcarra and the assumption of Manuel Merino, which led to scenes of protest and police repression in the streets of Peru.

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Arbizu has denounced that three presidents during the last four years have been examples of the weakness of democracy in Peru, being led by a group of upstarts and a few other active subjects involved in what he referred to as the country´s dirty politics.

However, he added, these are only issues on the surface, and behind the dirty politics and behind Mr. Merino, "there is an important number of criminal organizations that are placing him in power and that will not hesitate to drive him to promote their personal interests from now on."

The Peruvian Congress dismissed Vizcarra on Monday amid accusations of corruption, in the second political trial against the president in just two months. One hundred five parliamentarians voted in favor of the president's dismissal, 19 against, and four abstentions. Only 87 votes were needed to declare Vizcarra's vacancy for "moral incapacity" to govern because he was involved in corruption cases.

The parliamentary measure comes while an investigation is going on in the Prosecutor's Office about an alleged case of corruption in the construction of a hospital when Vizcarra was the regional governor of Moquegua (2011-2014) and only five months before the next presidential elections.

The next day, a large group of demonstrators gathered around the Parliament building in downtown Lima to protest against the president of Congress taking over as Peru's new president after Vizcarra's removal from office.

Merino, a center-right agricultural engineer, promised in his first speech to Congress that he would respect the electoral calendar that foresees general elections on April 11. According to several analysts, Peru is facing a political crisis, the outcome of the corruption that is pervasive across all of its political and legislative institutions.

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