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  • A handout photo made available by the Peruvian Congress shows President of the Congress of Peru Manuel Merino De Lama (R) during the announcement of the audios that commit the president of Peru Martin Vizcarra in the plenary session of the Peruvian Congress, in Lima, Peru, 10 September 2020.

    A handout photo made available by the Peruvian Congress shows President of the Congress of Peru Manuel Merino De Lama (R) during the announcement of the audios that commit the president of Peru Martin Vizcarra in the plenary session of the Peruvian Congress, in Lima, Peru, 10 September 2020. | Photo: EFE/EPA Peruvian Congress

Published 10 September 2020
Opinion

Following the scandal, Peru's Congress president Manuel Merino declared parliament in permanent session as parliament awaits for the transcription of the files and considers the possibility of a vacancy motion, but Vizcarra said he is not resigning.

Peru's President Martín Vizcarra faces a political crisis that may cost him the presidency after a series of recordings was released to parliament on Thursday, where the President is heard asking some of his closest advisors to lie during an inquiry.

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Lawmaker Edgar Alarcón presented the files where Vizcarra is allegedly talking to his advisers and demanding they lie on a parliamentary inquiry by hiding meetings with the singer Ricardo "Swing" Cisneros.

Cisneros is an apparent friend of the President who signed numerous contracts with the Ministry of Culture for consultancies and conferences; these are presumed to be irregular contracts. The singer may have charged up to $50.000 to offer consultancies for which he was not trained. The audio reveals that he visited the Government Palace six times, but four of those were hidden from the public.

"We are all involved in this investigation, and the strategy is to all come out together," Vizcarra said.

On the other hand, Congressman Jim Mamani, from the Union for Peru (UPP), already presented a draft for a vacancy motion based on moral incapacity. Still, the document requires 26 signatures to be official.

Following the scandal, Peru's Congress president Manuel Merino declared the parliament in permanent session as the parliament awaits for the transcription of the files and considers the possibility of a vacancy motion. This would need 87 votes to be implemented.

Article 113 of Peru's constitution establishes that the President of the Republic is vacated due to "his permanent moral or physical incapacity, declared by Congress."

"The destiny and values ​​of democracy force me to stand up once more to defend the people, even though with this, the enemies of all Peruvians try to muddy my image. For the disclosed disclosures, I request guarantees for my family, Karen Roca and Richard Cisneros."

Some lawyers have said that this motion would not proceed since Vizcarra's situation does not correspond to any of the four scenarios established in the constitution. 

On the other hand, other experts say that there are already two precedents where the current head of state has been processed after a vacancy motion for moral incapacity. This was the case for Alberto Fujimori and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Nevertheless, some reactions warned of a possible coup by Vizcarra as he tries to cling to power because, as President, he could appeal the Congress's decision in case the vacancy is approved.

During an address to the nation regarding the scandal, Vizcarra, who lacks political strength within Congress, said that he is not going to resign.

"If you want to take me out, here I am, with my head held high and a clear conscience. I am not going to resign, I am not running," the President assured.

Furthermore, Vizcarra did not deny the conversation instead referred to its context. "The only thing illegal here is the recording, as in the times of Vladimiro Montesinos. I am not going to deny the conversation, but there were internal forms of coordination," the President added.

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