Vizcarra says plans to fight imeachment in Congress showdown

Lima (AFP) –


Peruvian president Martin Vizcarra said Tuesday he will go before Congress to defend himself against charges of corruption in an impeachment trial next week.

"We will be present in Congress and, as always, we will be carrying in our hands the arguments of the truth, and let's hope that the democratic forces will be the ones that prevail and Peru will be put first," Vizcarra told journalists during a trip to the north of the country.

Congress voted Monday to summon Vizcarra for a second impeachment trial, after he survived a previous one in September, when his opponents failed to garner enough votes to convict him of "moral incapacity."

The latest allegations stem from claims by several businessmen that he took kickbacks in exchange for public works contracts while he was governor of the southern Peruvian department of Moquegua.

The previous heave was sparked by allegations he told aides to lie to investigators about details of the controversial hiring of a minor pop star as a cultural advisor.

The 57-year-old president has been at loggerheads with the legislature since coming to office two years ago, promising to root out entrenched corruption. He replaced the former president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who resigned after a corruption scandal.

"I will have to go to Congress to justify my actions and demonstrate the lack of arguments (of the opposition)," said Vizcarra, visiting the Lambayeque region.

He said the impeachment will only serve to sow more uncertainty in the country as it emerges from a coronavirus shutdown ahead of elections early next year.

"It seems to me that it would be irresponsible that five months before the elections, we are on a knife-edge playing with democracy, and that is not permissible," he said.

Vizcarra asked that he be allowed to go before Congress before November 9, but the legislature has insisted on the original date.