Peru president dissolves parliament, calls fresh elections

Lima (AFP) –


Peru's president dissolved parliament and called for fresh elections Monday, prompting a vote by lawmakers to suspend him, deepening a long-running institutional crisis.

The announcement by President Martin Vizcarra came after he warned Congress he would dissolve the body if it continued to block a raft of anti-corruption reforms and changes to the way judges are appointed to the country's Supreme Court.

Shortly after his televised statement, Congress voted to suspend Vizcarra for one year on the grounds of "moral incapacity" and nominated Vice President Mercedes Araoz as acting head of state.

The chamber will meet Friday to consider a motion to dismiss Vizcarra, House Speaker Pedro Olaechea said.

"We are facing a coup d'etat," opposition legislator Jorge del Castillo said of Vizcarra's move. "I hope the armed forces and the police will stay out of this charade."

This crisis is the culmination of a political dispute running for several years in Peru.

Vizcarra has repeatedly clashed with Congress, which is dominated by the Popular Force party of Keiko Fujimori, who is herself in prison pending trial on corruption charges linked to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.