The Peruvian Parliament on Monday elected centrist MP Francisco Sagasti interim president, after a week of political chaos that saw the dismissal of President Martin Vizcarra and the resignation of his successor Manuel Merino.
Francisco Sagasti, a 76-year-old political novice, was elected president of parliament by deputies and automatically becomes head of state.
Normally, when the president of Peru is removed, it is the vice-president who takes over. But the country has no longer had a vice-president since a previous political crisis that occurred a year ago, and in this case it is the president of the Parliament who becomes interim head of state, according to the provisions of the Constitution. .
“What our country lacks at the moment is confidence. Trust us, we will act as we say”, declared in front of the Parliament Mr. Sagasti, which will be officially invested Tuesday.
Francisco Sagasti mentioned in his speech the two demonstrators who died on Saturday during a demonstration repressed by the police. “When a Peruvian dies, and even more if he is young, all of Peru is in mourning. And if he dies defending democracy, the mourning is aggravated by indignation,” he said. he declares.
Elected with 97 votes out of 123 votes cast, Mr. Sagasti was the only candidate. His mandate runs until July 28, 2021, the date on which that of President Martin Vizcarra, deposed on November 9, was due to end.
The dismissal of this popular president, put in default by an expeditious procedure which bears witness to the fragility of Peruvian institutions, has plunged the country of 33 million inhabitants into yet another political crisis.
His replacement, the former head of Parliament Manuel Merino, announced on Sunday, just five days after his accession to power, that he was leaving office, the day after a violent crackdown on demonstrations demanding his departure, which made, in addition to the two deaths, a hundred injured.
Francisco Sagasti, nicknamed Don Quixote because of his graying beard and slender figure, in 2016 co-founded the centrist Morado party (Purple Party), the only one who did not vote for the impeachment of Mr. Vizcarra.
This engineer by training, a former university professor who also worked for the World Bank, was elected deputy for the first time in March 2020.
His election as head of the country was greeted by hundreds of demonstrators gathered near Parliament, and by horn concerts in the streets of the capital, AFP journalists noted.
“I congratulate Francisco Sagasti on his election to the presidency of Parliament. Only a person with democratic principles will be able to face the difficult situation facing the country,” Vizcarra reacted on Twitter.
It is “the ideal scenario” to overcome the political crisis because Mr. Sagasti was “one of those who voted against the dismissal of Vizcarra”, estimated with AFP the ex-president of the NGO Transparency International, José Carlos Ugaz.
At the same time, left-wing MP Mirtha Vasquez was elected President of Parliament. The next general election is scheduled for April 11, 2021.
Martin Vizcarra, without a political party or majority in Parliament, was praised by the population for his fight against corruption and his intransigence towards deputies.
He was at the head of the country after the resignation in 2018 of his predecessor Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, of which he was the vice-president. He was dismissed after a second impeachment process, based on corruption charges that he categorically denied.
Mr. Kuczynski could not, him either, go to the end of his mandate, forced to resign after being implicated in the scandal Odebrecht, named after the Brazilian construction giant who admitted to having paid bribes. -wine in several Latin American countries.
No less than four former Peruvian presidents, one of whom committed suicide, were involved in this scandal.
Manuel Merino, a 59-year-old center-right deputy, came out of anonymity in September by initiating a first impeachment procedure against Mr. Vizcarra which was unsuccessful.
A preliminary investigation was opened into the deaths of the two demonstrators on Saturday, apparently killed by police gunfire, but also for the “serious injuries” of dozens of others.
The UN has also announced the dispatch of a mission to the country to investigate alleged human rights violations.