People react after Peru's interim President Manuel Merino announced his resignation, in Lima, Peru, Nov. 15, 2020.
People react after Peru's interim President Manuel Merino announced his resignation, in Lima, Peru, Nov. 15, 2020.

Peru’s interim president resigned Sunday, just five days after taking office, sparking celebrations in the capital, Lima.

National protests have persisted calling for the removal of Manuel Merino, after parliament ousted relatively popular President Martin Vizcarra last week.

Merino stepped down shortly after a congressional session called on him to resign after two people were killed in protests against his appointment.

"I want to let the whole country know that I'm resigning," he said in a televised address.

Congress failed to reach a consensus in a Sunday vote on a replacement.   Human rights activist Rocio Silva Santisteban was the leading candidate, but she did not receive enough votes.  

Elections are scheduled for April 2021.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets since Merino’s appointment. The Health Ministry said two people were killed Saturday in a large, peaceful march that was met with shotgun pellets and tear gas from police.

Congress voted overwhelmingly to oust Vizcarra last week, citing his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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The legislators initially sought to impeach Vizcarra on an allegation he received more than $630,000 in kickbacks for construction projects while serving as governor in southern Peru from 2011-2014. He denies the allegations.

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