Embattled Peru president resigns amid corruption claims
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski protests his innocence as he steps down
After less than two years in office, Peru’s president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has resigned over a vote-buying scandal.
The embattled 79-year-old continued to deny wrongdoing as he stepped down, stating that he did not want to be an obstacle to the country’s development.
Secret video recordings showed his allies offering opposition politicians financial rewards if they backed him in the vote. Kuczynski said the video footage had been edited to “paint me as a corrupt person” as part of a “plot to destroy the government”.
He insisted: “I categorically reject these unsubstantiated claims and reaffirm my commitment to an honest, moral and fair Peru for everyone.”
The resignation of Kuczynski, a former Wall Street banker who studied at Oxford University, will be formally voted on by Peru’s Congress. The Peruvian Constitution states that Vice-President Martin Vizcarra will become acting president in his place.
The vote-buying scandal comes hot on the heels of a separate scandal in which Kuczynski was accused of receiving illegal payments from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. There was also outrage when the Peruvian leader pardoned former President Alberto Fujimori, who had been convicted of human rights violations.
According to the New York Times, the resignation “does not bode well for Latin America”, where Peru’s economic stability is at variance with the country’s “growing political turmoil”.
Attention now turns to Brazil where former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva could be sent to jail over corruption allegations.