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Peru’s Congress Expected to Accept President’s Resignation

FILE - Peru's Vice President Martin Vizcarra, left, and President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski greet the media in Lima, Peru, March 16, 2016.

Peru’s congress is expected to vote Friday to accept President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s resignation and swear in vice president Martin Vizcarra as his replacement.

Vizcarra, 55, a relatively unknown politician who has been serving as the Andean country’s ambassador to Canada, flew back to Lima on Thursday, which coincidentally was his birthday.

He would hold the post until July 2021, when Kuczynski’s term was to end.

Pressure on Kuczynski increased this week after the emergence of secretly recorded videos showing allies of Kuczynski allegedly attempting to buy the support of an opposition lawmaker to block the president’s impeachment.

To avoid impeachment, Kuczynski delivered a resignation letter to congress Wednesday, blaming relentless attacks by his opponents for making it impossible to govern.

Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former Peruvian strongman Alberto Fujimori has a relentless campaign to oust Kuczynski amid a bribery scandal related to his association with the Brazilian construction giant, Odebrecht.

Kuczynski has vehemently denied having any business or political ties to the company. But documents presented by Keiko’s Popular Force party showed his consulting firm had received $782,000 in payments from Odebrecht a decade ago, some of them when he was a government minister.

In a plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department in December 2016, Odebrecht admitted to spreading some $800 million in bribes to officials across Latin America, including $29 million in Peru.