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World Peru's Vizcarra blames lies, betrayal for turmoil as government sues to block impeachment

01:01  15 september  2020
01:01  15 september  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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Lawmakers in Peru ’ s Congress, a mosaic of parties from the left and right with no overall majority, heard recordings of two private conversations between Vizcarra and government officials about meetings with “I have a commitment to Peru and I will fulfill it until the last day of my mandate.”

Peru ’ s congress opened impeachment proceedings against President Martin Vizcarra Peru is due to hold a general election in April, and Vizcarra has repeatedly said he won’t seek a new term. Prosecutors and lawmakers this year began probing alleged irregularities in the government ’s hiring

By Marco Aquino

Martín Vizcarra wearing a suit and tie: Peru's President Martin Vizcarra attends a swearing-in ceremony at the government palace in Lima © Reuters/GUADALUPE PARDO Peru's President Martin Vizcarra attends a swearing-in ceremony at the government palace in Lima

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra on Monday said that "delusional lies" are at the heart of the political turmoil the Andean copper-producing country is experiencing as the government fights to block impeachment proceedings against him.

Vizcarra, who is due to finish his term in 10 months, said in a televised message that the crisis was triggered by a confidant's betrayal and a fragmented Congress that was seeking to destabilize the government.

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Peru ’ s congress began debating a motion that seeks to start impeachment proceedings against President Vizcarra ’s cabinet chief Walter Martos said the government will use all legal measures available The political turmoil threatens to deepen a crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic

President Martin Vizcarra of Peru , center, in March. Congress voted to begin impeachment hearings to investigate accusations of obstruction of justice against Mr. Vizcarra .Credit Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press.

"I must tell Peruvians that what is happening here is the betrayal of someone close to me," said Vizcarra

"I have to deeply regret and apologize to the country because a person from the presidential office whom I trusted, not from now but from years ago, has created this situation ... without any foundation," he added.

Lawmakers voted last week to impeach Vizcarra, who has no party representation in Congress, due to "moral incapacity" in a case of the alleged irregular hiring of a little-known singer who goes as "Richard Swing."

The scandal broke after leaked audio recordings were shared in Congress by opposition lawmakers of Vizcarra discussing meetings with the singer. Some lawmakers alleged the recordings showed him trying to downplay his ties to the performer.

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Peru ' s prosecutor's office said on Saturday it raided eight homes of former government employees and associates tied to a case of alleged irregular hiring that has REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo/File Photo. Congress voted to start impeachment proceedings against Vizcarra on Friday, plunging the Andean

Peru has been thrown into political crisis after President Martín Vizcarra made good on a threat to dissolve Congress unless lawmakers backed his anti-corruption reforms. But a government source said the vote and swearing-in of Ms Aráoz were null and void because they had occurred after

Peru's government filed a lawsuit with the country's top court earlier on Monday in a bid to hold up impeachment proceedings.

The potential ouster appeared to lose steam over the weekend, however, after several political leaders came out against it, saying it would spark further turmoil with Peru already facing its deepest recession in decades and the coronavirus pandemic.

Luis Huerta, a lawyer for the Ministry of Justice who presented the lawsuit, said the government's move aimed to "temporarily suspend" the impeachment process while the Constitutional Court looked into the matter.

"The lawsuit alleges that there is an improper use by Congress regarding its power to declare vacancy due to moral incapacity," he added.

On Saturday, Peru's prosecutor raided the homes of several people involved in the case, including officials close to Vizcarra and the singer, who was awarded government contracts for motivational talks for $49,500.

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FILE PHOTO: Peru ' s President Martin Vizcarra addresses the nation, as he announces he was dissolving Congress, at the government palace in Lima, Peru September 30, 2019. Congress voted on Friday to pursue impeachment proceedings against Vizcarra , plunging the Andean country into

Peru ' s Congress has sworn in the Vice-President, Martín Vizcarra , to replace the sitting president who resigned amid allegations of corruption this week. Speaking after the ceremony, he said tackling corruption would be a priority for his government .

The vote to launch impeachment proceedings passed with 67 votes in favor, but an actual ouster would require a higher threshold of 87 votes from the 130 legislators. Vizcarra has been summoned to face lawmakers on Friday.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Adam Jourdan; editing by Jonathan Oatis)


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