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News > Latin America

Peru: Kuczynski's 20 Months in Office 'Marred by Scandal'

  • President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's less than two years in power will be remembered more for scandals and protests than political achievement.

    President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's less than two years in power will be remembered more for scandals and protests than political achievement. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 March 2018

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's less than two years in power will be remembered more for scandals and protests than any real political achievement.

Peru's Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK), who resigned Wednesday after his own party asked him to step down "for dignity," leaves behind him a disproportionately long list of scandals for his short time in office.

Peru: All Political Parties Demand Kuczynski's Resignation

Peruvians for Change withdrew their support for PPK after Moises Mamani, legislator for opposition party Popular Force, published a video of Kuczynski's allies offering public works and other favors in return for a vote against impeachment proceedings. 

Kuczynski's presidency – which he leaves with an approval rating of just 17 per cent – lasted only 20 months, but his time in office was marked by a long list of scandals and protests against his administration.

April 2016

PPK won the presidential elections by a narrow margin, with 50.1 percent of the votes.

June 2016

Two months after PPK was elected, the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Attorney General's Office ordered an investigation into Kuczynski.

When he was leading former President Alejandro Toledo's Council of Ministers, Kuczynski promulgated a bill that favored Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht for the construction project of the Interoceanic Highway between Brazil and Peru.

February 2017

After meeting U.S. President Donald Trump, during a presentation at Princeton University entitled 'A New Age for Latin America,' PPK said: "The United States focuses on those areas where there are problems, like the Middle East. It does not invest much time in Latin America because it is like a good dog that is sleeping on the carpet, that does not cause any problems. Venezuela is a big problem.

Kuczynski's comments weren't well received, either in Peru or across the wider region.


June 2017

Finance minister and former Wall Street banker Alfredo Thorne had to resign after the opposition-controlled Congress voted to censure him over an alleged contract scandal. Thorne was accused of asking the comptroller to approve a modification to a US$520 million airport contract in exchange for a bigger budget in a secret recording.

The Union of Peruvian Education Workers launched a 50-day strike to demand higher wages and more investment in education. PPK's government attempted to quell protests by declaring a state of emergency in six districts, but eventually had to negotiate. Teachers got a pay rise and regional governments committed to allocate 70 percent of their budgets to education.  

July 2017

On July 3, Peruvian doctors began an indefinite national strike to demand higher wages and investment in infrastructure. The National Federation of Doctors blasted the "disastrous" situation of public health in Peru under PPK's government. 

Later that month, roughly 5,000 unionized miners organized a nationwide strike to reject proposed labor reforms they feared would impact workers' rights and loosen safety rules.

Justice Minister Marisol Perez fired the state prosecutor in the Odebrecht case, Katherine Ampuero, on July 20. Ampuero had previously denounced Kuczynski for being linked to Odebrecht. 

Peru: Congress Accepts New Request Seeking to Dismiss Kuczynski

September 2017 

After a vote of no-confidence by Congress, PPK was forced to search for a new cabinet.  

December 2017

On December 15, Congress decided with 93 votes for and 17 vote against to start the impeachment process against PPK for moral incapacity over proven links between Odebrecht and Westfield Capital Ltd, a company owned by Kuczynski.

On December 21, Kuczynski and his lawyers presented his defense in front of the opposition-led Congress in an open session over links he once denied having with Odebrecht.

He narrowly avoided impeachment after 10 lawmakers of the Popular Force party, led by Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former right-wing dictator Alberto Fujimori, broke party lines and abstained from the vote.

Less than a week after dodging impeachment thanks to the abstentions of 10 fujimorista legislators, on Christmas Eve PPK announced his decision to pardon former president Alberto Fujimori, who was serving a 25-year prison sentence for crimes against humanity.    

Fujimori, who ruled between 1990 and 2000, was found guilty of the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta massacres, where 25 people were murdered by an army squad. He was also found guilty of kidnapping journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer.

Along with former Army Captain Vladimir Montesinos, Fujimori has been linked to forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings during the war against insurgent groups Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.

Fujimori was also accused of the forced sterilizations of 300,000 women as part of poverty eradication program Voluntary Surgical Contraception between 1996 and 2000.

Thousands of Peruvians joined national protests against the pardon, impunity and corruption. 

February 2018 

On February 13, Kuczynski announced via Twitter that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro would not be welcomed in Peru for the VIII Summit of the Americas, citing a "rupture of the democratic order" in Venezuela. The decision drew criticism by the Venezuelan government and other countries, including Ecuador, Cuba, Bolivia, Uruguay, Nicaragua and Antigua and Barbuda. 

Venezuela's Foreign Ministry used the opportunity to highlight the hypocrisy in Kuczynski's statement, arguing that countries like Colombia, where over 200 social leaders were killed in 2017, and Brazil, where the Senate ousted democratically elected president Dilma Rouseff to place non-elected Michel Temer in office, were still invited.  

March 2018

Second impeachment proceedings were approved by Peru's Congress with 87 votes. Legislators needeed only 51 votes to initiate the proceeding, but got the 87 votes required to oust PPK from office. 

On March 20, videos of Kuczynski's allies attempting to buy votes to help him dodge impeachment again were made public by legislators who accused the president of attempting to bribe them through infrastructure projects and other favors. 

The videos caused a national uproar and prompted PPK's own party to withdraw their support. 

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