Several days ago Peru grabs headlines in the international press for its riots and demonstrations. This Sunday, after two particularly violent days in which two people lost their lives and a hundred were injured, the Andean country was left without a president after the resignation of Manuel Merino only five days after assuming power, and Congress was also beheaded by the resignation of the members of its board.
1. Waiver of Merino
Merino’s resignation sparked a celebration in the Peruvian streets after several days of protests harshly repressed by the police. “I want to make known to the whole country that I present my irrevocable resignation in charge of Republic President“The fleeting ruler declared on television. A few hours later the board of directors of Congress, headed by Luis Valdez, which temporarily left the Andean country without authorities of the executive and legislative powers.
At night, Congress did not agree to elect the leftist legislator as the new president of Peru Rocío Silva Santisteban, who was supposedly a consensus candidate. He needed 60 votes and got only 42, with 52 against and 25 abstentions.
2. Corruption in the Government
Merino had replaced the popular president Martín Vizcarra on Tuesday, a day after he was dismissed by Congress for a case of alleged corruption. Congress must appoint a new president to pacify the country. It will be the third in less than a week, in a nation badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic recession, which plunged into a political crisis after the removal of Vizcarra.
Merino, a 59-year-old center-rightist, said that in order to avoid a “power vacuum,” the 18 ministers he was sworn in on Thursday will remain in their posts temporarily, although virtually all had renounced after the crackdown on protesters on Saturday.
As soon as Merino announced his resignation, the streets of Lima filled with protesters banging pans and shouting slogans in a boisterous celebration. “We did it. Do you realize what we are capable of?” The Peruvian soccer team Renato Tapia wrote on social networks.
Former president Vizcarra celebrated the resignation of the president and urged the Constitutional Court to rule as soon as possible on his removal from office on November 9. “A little dictator has come out of the palace,” he told reporters.
3. Police repression
Saturday’s demonstrations left two dead and 94 wounded, according to officials of the Ministry of Health. But the National Human Rights Coordinator affirmed that 112 were injured and warned that there were also a dozen “disappeared” during the marches.
The repression of those protests cost him what little political support he had for Merino. The President of Congress, Luis Valdez, demanded his “immediate resignation”, adding to the demand that thousands of protesters had made since Tuesday. Police action has been severely questioned by the UN and human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, since the protests began on Tuesday, the day Merino took office.