PERU. Lima: In a move that shocked the international community, the nation’s parliament voted to remove President Martín Vizcarra from office. The measure passed with an overwhelming 105 votes in favor. Only 19 voted against the measure and another 4 members abstained.
This monumental decision comes just five months before the nation’s general election, which is set to take place on 11 April, 2021.
Allegations of bribery and ineptitude
Peruvian parliament has kept Vizcarra in their crosshairs since 18 Sept. of this year, when the governing body originally tried to collect the necessary votes to remove the president from office.
The decision is based on alleged evidence of bribery, corruption, and “moral incompetence”, which parliament described in a statement earlier today.
Vizcarra denied the accusations of receiving bribes during his time as a governor, “There is no reliable evidence or proof of flagrancy of a crime and there will not be, because I have not collected any bribes,” the president said in a press release this morning.
The president has agreed to respect parliament’s decision and has pledged to leave office without legal action or resistance. Vizcarra also warned that the decision could further damage their country, which has plunged into a deep economic recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Was COVID-19 the final coffin nail?
Vizcarra’s administration has been criticized for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which somehow managed to be overly militant and poorly organized at the same time.
Videos emerged back in April of people evacuating Lima on foot in search of food in other cities and villages amid cries that, “Hunger will kill us before the virus does.”
Cities in the Amazon regions were cut off from vital supplies like oxygen and personal protective equipment when the caseload began to peak back in May, particularly the city of Iquitos. People died in the streets without medical support and doctors pleaded for government assistance, which received a brutally slow response.
Among the worst-hit countries in South America, Peru has suffered tremendously from the COVID-19 pandemic and is now feeling the economic ricochet effect seen in many other countries.
Despite these elements, Peruvians have had a mixed response to the removal Vizcarra. In the meantime, President of Parliament Manuel Merino de Lama will act as the interim president of the nation until the general election takes place in April of next year.