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Peru Congress approves second impeachment trial against president

[JURIST] Peru's Congress [official website, in spanish] voted [La República report, in Spanish] by a wide margin on Thursday to begin impeachment proceedings against President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski [BBC profile] for a second time in three months.

Congress voted 87-15 in favor of admitting the impeachment motion with 15 abstentions. Lawmakers are attempting to impeach Kuczynski over his ties to the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht [official website], which is at the center of Latin America's corruption scandal. Odebrecht has allegedly paid Latin American officials over USD $785 million, including $29 million in Peru, illegally financing a number of election campaigns in return for building contracts [BBC report].

In December, Kuczynski narrowly avoided impeachment after a small opposition faction, including the son of then-jailed former President Alberto Fujimori [BBC profile], abstained. Shortly after, Kuczynski pardoned Fujimori from a 25-year jail sentence.

Congress will hold a plenary session on March 22 to hear the president's defense, debate the motion and hold a final vote. If the motion obtains the support of at least 87 lawmakers, Kuczynski will be ousted and replaced by first vice president Martin Vizcarra.

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