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Peru's President Offers to Resign Amid Corruption Scandal


Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski leaves Government Palace after presenting his resignation to Congress in Lima, Peru, March 21, 2018.

Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has offered his resignation a day before he was to face an impeachment vote in congress.

It is unclear if the opposition-controlled congress would accept his resignation or go ahead with the vote Thursday to force him from office.

Pressure has been building on Kuczynski to resign since video recordings surfaced Tuesday showing several of the president's allies allegedly trying to buy the support of a lawmaker to block the conservative leader's impeachment.

The Peruvian congress first began the impeachment proceedings against him last year after documents showed Kuczynski's private consulting firm received $782,000 in payments from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht more than a decade ago. Some of those payments overlap with his years as a government minister.

While no one has proven that Kuczynski committed a crime, proponents for his removal say he should have disclosed the payments, or at the very least, he failed to recognize a conflict of interest.

Lawmakers fell eight votes short of the 87 required to impeach Kuczynski in December.

Kuczynski, an Oxford and Princeton-educated former Wall Street banker, has denied all wrongdoing.

In a nationwide televised address Wednesday, with his Cabinet standing behind him, Kuczynski said he didn't want to become an obstacle to Peru's development.

"I don't want my country, nor my family, to continue suffering through the uncertainty of recent times,'' he said, adding that the campaign in favor of his removal had caused "enormous damage'' to Peru's democracy.

Congress must still accept his resignation before power can transfer to Vice President Martin Vizcarra, who is currently serving as Peru's ambassador to Canada and wasn't present for Kuczynski's announcement.

State Department correspondent Nike Ching contributed to this report.

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