Peru’s congress unsuccessfully attempted to impeach President Martín Vizcarra on Friday on the grounds of “moral incapacity.” Vizcarra faced the impeachment hearing despite his appeal to delay congressional efforts to remove him from his office, which was rejected by the country’s constitutional court on Thursday.
The motion to impeach Vizcarra gained support from 32 of Peru’s 130 lawmakers in favor of ousting the president, falling short of the two-thirds majority required to remove him from office. The proceedings were initiated last week after opposition lawmakers released evidence that Vizcarra instructed “subordinates to lie to prosecutors about a minor-influence peddling scandal.” However, the allegations of “moral incapacity” arose from reports in May alleging that Vizcarra entered into irregular government contracts with a little-known pop singer and political supporter, Richard Cisneros. Vizcarra argued that opposition lawmakers commenced impeachment vote out of anger over the president’s move to dissolve the previous congress last year.
Tensions were high during the political battle, as Peru is suffering from an economic recession due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact. Key lawmakers offered Vizcarra support after the proceedings began, reasoning that the country needs stability during this time. During the hearing, Vizcarra delivered a speech to Congress, defending himself against the allegations and urging the lawmakers to focus on the “real challenges” that the country is facing.
Vizcarra will serve out the rest of his term, which ends in July 2021.