Lawmakers seemed to be short of this two-thirds majority vote necessary to eliminate Vizcarra out of office, but if he dodges the impeachment effort, analysts cautioned he wouldn’t escape the ordeal completely unscathed.
His capacity to take forward the anti-corruption schedule he’s sought to produce the trademark of his brief administration might be further jeopardized if Vizcarra is perceived as being participated in influence-peddling himself.
“This hangs in the balance”
The political chaos rocking Peru has temporarily distracted attention from among the planet’s worst coronavirus outbreaks and involves a cast of characters that could easily fit into a soap opera.
In the middle of this ordeal is Vizcarra’s relationship with a little-known musician called Richard Swing and almost $50,000 in questionable contracts he had been awarded by the Ministry of Culture for actions like inspirational speaking.
A secret sound recording shared with Edgar Alarcón — a lawmaker himself charged with embezzlement — seems to reveal Vizcarra coordinating a defense plan using two aides, attempting to get their stories directly on the number of occasions the musician had seen him.
Vizcarra insists no illegal action happened and he hasn’t been charged.
Though Vizcarra is eligible to talk to Congress in his defense, it had been widely anticipated he could be represented by a lawyer. However, while analysts have criticized that the hurried procedure where the impeachment proceedings were initiated within hours of their sound’s launch, several agreed that the president owes Peruvians an excuse.
“The best thing that the president could do would be to visit Congress, clarify the audios, and proceed awry,” said Alonso Cárdenas, a political professor at the Antonio Ruíz de Montoya University in Lima. “Allow his ministers to take the spotlight until his administration is up”
Since lawmakers started arriving at Congress Friday morning, many-voiced doubt that the impeachment would triumph but cautioned that anything might occur.
Vizcarra became president in 2018 following Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned the presidency under stress by Congress following the discovery of roughly $782,000 in undisclosed payments to his consulting company by Brazilian building giant Odebrecht, which will be in the middle of a region-wide corruption scandal.
Odebrecht has confessed to spending 800 million in bribes to officials throughout Latin America, and almost every living former president was implicated in the scandal.
Vizcarra, in the time a vice president serving as Peru’s ambassador to Canada, is a scientist by training and has been considered an unknown political novice. But he’s managed to turn into an extremely popular president, lately getting a 57% approval rating in a survey despite Peru’s serious financial fallout in the COVID-19 crisis and the high disease rate.
Most Peruvians watch him as a frank-talking leader that has taken on corruption, even blowing off Congress annually at a brash move despised by taxpayers as a success against a dishonest category of pushing and politicians initiatives to reform judges have been picked and pub politicians charged with offenses from running for office.
“He is the only president that — without a great deal of electricity — has confronted against these shameless men and women,” explained Pedro Quispe, a retired educator out selling face masks on a current day.
“He has not been able to perform all of the governmental reform he and his allies expect to,” Levitsky said. “But corruption in middle-income nations is never removed in one presidency.”
To what level the present scandal could still taint the seven weeks he’s left office remains to be seen.
His presidency, it seems, will be book-ended by disasters.
“He’s very isolated, really lonely,” Burt said. “I truly don’t believe anybody is winning in this circumstance.”