Peru: Congress rejects impeachment, President Vizcarra remains in office

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra attends a Parliament plenary session. Photo: ANDINA/Presidency of the Republic.

21:54 | Lima, Sep. 18.

The majority of parliamentarians on Friday night dismissed an impeachment motion against the President of the Republic Martin Vizcarra. Thus, the Head of State will remain in office.

The decision was the outcome of 32 votes in favor, 78 against, and 15 abstentions.

It must be noted that the impeachment required 87 votes in favor to remove the Head of State from office.

Moreover, lawmakers from several political groups had previously announced that they were not going to support the presidential impeachment.

As is known, Parliament filed the aforementioned motion on September 10, after leaked audio recordings were shared in Congress by opposition lawmakers. The motion was admitted the next day to be discussed and voted. 

The legislators, who signed it, invoked the grounds of permanent moral incapacity and proposed the application of the succession regime established in Article 115.

During his speech at the Congress Chamber, Mr. Vizcarra affirmed that his behavior has always been correct, adding that he has not committed any illegal acts.

"I have come here with my head held high and a clear conscience, because I am consistent with everything I have said during my administration. I am not running away, I have not done that in the past, and I will not do it now," he expressed.

The President affirmed that the leaked audio recordings shared last week in Congress by opposition lawmakers —after which the impeachment motion was submitted— are not valid, and have been made public in various stages and editions without verifying the veracity of their contents.

"I recognize that my voice is in one of those audio recordings. I have already said it publicly. What I will in no way acknowledge or accept are the accusations that are made against me and the biased way in which the information has been presented. I ask you: what is the crime?" he stated.

"We must be respectful of the instances. Let the Public Ministry be the jurisdiction in charge of getting to the bottom of this investigation, because it is the one that has competence on the investigation, and not the Congress of the Republic," he added.

In order to prove the questionable nature of those audios, he reported that former Government Palace administrative secretary Karem Roca has denied —in a notarized letter— the claims she had made.

Likewise, he showed the notarized document, in which Roca denied the statements she had made about Transport Minister Carlos Estremadoyro and offered her apologies.

Once the speech came to an end, the President departed for northern La Libertad region to participate in other events.

"Facts are considered as such once they are verified (...) impeaching means interrupting his mandate and that can be done based on definitive and confirmed facts, not on presumptions that are being investigated and lack certainty," Pereira expressed.

"These facts lack certainty and cannot trigger events such as a presidential impeachment," he added.

The Cabinet member explained that the administration's purpose was to establish a legal strategy to prove that the way —in which Congress is interpreting the cause of moral incapacity for the impeachment— is not compatible with the country's system of government, affects the powers of the Executive Branch, and undermines the constitutional order.

The Constitutional Court (TC) admitted the competence claim filed by the Executive Branch. However, it rejected the precautionary measure intended to temporarily suspend the impeachment proceeding in Congress.


Publicado: 18/9/2020