Political Crisis Peru: Francisco Sagasti named THIRD president in week

Peru’s Congress has chosen legislator Francisco Sagasti as the nation’s caretaker president after two presidents resigned in the past week.

This means he will assume the presidency of Peru before national elections called for April.

He replaces Manuel Merino who resigned on Sunday, five days after being sworn in following the impeachment of centrist Martin Vizcarra.

The removal of Vizcarra, who was popular with many Peruvians but angered legislators with his push for anti-corruption measures and attempts to curb parliamentary immunity, sparked days of protests that led to the deaths of two men.

Mr Sagasti is a former World Bank official and engineer. He faces a tough challenge to bring stable the political circus amid the coronavirus pandemic and worst economic contraction in a century.

He would be sworn in as the country’s interim president on Tuesday.

He received 97 votes in favour with 26 against, and is set to complete the current government’s mandate that ends in July 2021 and will include the holding of general elections on April 11.

Crowds welcomed his appointment with jubilee at the Lima city centre.

How the political crisis in Peru unfolded?

Peru’s unicameral legislature voted overwhelmingly on Nov 9 to impeach President Martín Vizcarra from office, condemning his management of the coronavirus pandemic and alleging he had taken bribes years ago while serving as a regional governor.

Vizcarra, in a speech to the legislature following his impeachment, denied the allegations but said he would not contest his removal and would leave the presidential palace for his private home by the end of the day.

The following day, Nov 10 as the President of the Peruvian Congress, Manuel Merino became the new president of Peru following the line of succession established in the nation’s constitution.

Following the controversial removal of Vizcarra demonstrations sparked off. Many called it a coup. Protests were registered in several cities of the country, to show their outrage at new President  Merino.

On Nov 14, clashes broke out between police and protesters in Lima.

Police reportedly fired tear gas and shotgun pellets to repel demonstrators, some of whom had thrown fireworks and stones.

Two students, Jack Pintado, 22, and Inti Sotelo, 24, were killed in the protests.

Following the death of protesters, several Merino’s ministers resigned. On Nov 15, Merino stepped down as interim president.

On Monday, Nov 16, Peru’s Congress has chosen legislator Francisco Sagasti as the country’s caretaker president until national elections in April.