Accessibility links

Breaking News

Peruvian President Faces Possible Impeachment

  • VOA News

Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski listens as his lawyer Alberto Borea addresses lawmakers of the opposition-ruled Congress, in Lima, Peru, Dec. 21, 2017.

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski faces possible congressional impeachment Thursday over his alleged involvement with Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company that is mired in Latin America's largest corruption scandal.

The ultraconservative populist party that controls Peru's legislature, Popular Force, is planning to unseat Kuczynski in a vote that he is "morally unfit" to lead the country.

Peru's political crisis stems from Odebrecht's acknowledgement that it bribed officials in the region for much of the century, resulting in the imprisonment of elites from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and other countries.

The scandal has had a more significant impact in Peru than any other country outside Brazil. Odebrecht was a participant in enormous infrastructure projects in Peru and has conceded it paid nearly $30 million dollars to Peruvian officials.

Kuczynski initially denied any ties with Odebrecht but it surfaced last week that a company owned by Kuczynski received more than $4 million from Odebrecht more than 10 years ago. The president also denies committing any illegal or improper acts and contends Popular Force was misusing its majority status to seize control.

"The constitution and democracy are under attack. We're facing a coup dressed in supposedly legitimate legal interpretations," Kuczynski said Wednesday in a nationally televised speech.

Popular Force needs 87 votes out of 130 in parliament to oust Kuczynski and they may have enough votes to succeed.

If congress votes to remove Kuczynski, his two vice presidents would depart as well and new presidential and parliamentary elections would be held.

On Wednesday, tens of thousands of people protested in the streets of the capital of Lima against the attempt to remove Kuczynski from office.

The protestors had various opinions about the legitimacy and the motives behind the impeachment vote, but different groups of protestors seemed to agree that corruption was rampant in congress and throughout the state establishment.