By Sergio Garcia Hernandez
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned Wednesday after a series of videos surfaced that implicated him in a vote-buying scandal.
The Peruvian Congress was due to vote Thursday on Kuczynski’s impeachment on the grounds of moral incapability due to his alleged links with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which is at the center of Latin America’s largest corruption scandal.
A series of videos surfaced Tuesday in which congressman Kenji Fujimori, an ally of the president, appears to be offering kickbacks to other congressmen in return for voting against an impeachment request against Kuczynski filed in December.
Epifanio Baca, coordinator of the think tank Grupo Propuesta Ciudadana, told Anadolu Agency that due to the videos, some congressmen decided to vote in favor of Kuczynski’s impeachment, which prompted him to resign earlier than expected.
“The lingering doubt about his impeachment came to an end. There were enough votes to impeach the president,” he said.
Baca asserted that Kuczynski’s resignation was the best option he had once he lost the support of congress, noting that the president had 100 votes against him in the legislature and was “a step away from quitting the government”.
He stressed that the person that will lead the transition period must form a new government in which different political parties participate.
Baca said a new ministerial cabinet must be formed and the government must openly vouch for the fight against corruption in a country where various former presidents have been linked to bribes paid to Odebrecht.
Manuel Gonzalez, a visiting professor at Colombia´s Sergio Arboleda University and an expert in Latin American politics, agreed with Baca that Kuczynski´s ouster was imminent and that there were at least 90 congressmen who were planning to vote in favor of his impeachment while only 87 votes were needed.
After the video scandal emerged, “many congressmen that had supported him stopped doing so,” said Gonzalez.
The professor said that besides his alleged links to Odebrecht, Kuczynski’s fall was mainly due to the pardon he gave former president Alberto Fujimori in December for humanitarian reasons.
“He made a deal to remain in the presidency in exchange for the pardon he gave in December. With that, he lost support from practically all of congress,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez highlighted that the transition period in Peru will probably take place under a constitutional framework. He said there will be a reshuffle of political forces in government that could affect the country’s economy.
Mauricio Jaramillo Jassir, a professor and researcher at Colombia´s Rosario University and a former advisor to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), told Anadolu Agency that Kuczynski sunk himself into a political crisis due to his alleged links with Odebrecht and Fujimori’s pardon, which left him with little political support.
Jaramillo stressed that the impeachment scenario that Kuczynski faced was different from the one he was due to face in December due to the video leaks and since the president had nothing to offer in exchange for his continuity, unlike he did in December, when he supposedly negotiated Fujimori’s pardon.
The impeachment request against Kuczynski was propped up by Fujimori’s backers, who said the president should step down due to statements made by Odebrecht representatives about the bribes the president received from the company and due to the political instability in the country.
*Ahmed Fawzi Mostefai contributed to this report.