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  • PERU GOVERNMENT

    Leftist party calls for new elections in Peru

    22 de marzo de 2018

    Lima, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- A leftist party demanded Thursday, a day after President Pedro Pablo coffered his resignation amid scandal, that his replacement as head of state push through a constitutional overhaul and call new general elections.

    New Peru issued the call to Vice President Martin Vizcarra, who will be sworn in on Friday if Congress accepts Kuczynski's resignation.

    "When we speak about new elections, we're talking about elections with new rules of the game so that those who got us into this crisis don't come back pretending to give us moral guidelines," New Peru leader Veronika Mendoza said at a press conference.

    She said those new rules of the game were needed to keep "dirty money" out of politics.

    Mendoza - the third-leading vote-getter in the 2016 elections, which Kuczynski eventually won in a run-off versus right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori - said her political grouping backed the swearing-in of Vizcarra.

    But she stressed that the new president needed to spur an election-law change that will enable new presidential and legislative balloting.

    Mendoza said it was too early to say if she planned to compete in those eventual elections.

    The 2016 presidential candidate of the centrist Popular Action party, Alfredo Barnechea, echoed her remarks,

    He said Vizcarra would be a transitional president without a legislative majority and that "only general elections will restore order" to the country.

    A survey that was conducted by polling firm GfK shortly before Kuczynski offered his resignation and published Thursday by the daily La Republica revealed that 49 percent of Peruvians favored new elections if the head of state stepped down from office.

    Kuczynski resigned hours after the secretary-general of his center-right Peruvians for Change (PPK) party urged him to step down ahead of a congressional impeachment hearing that had been scheduled for Thursday.

    "If he doesn't (resign), I hereby announce that I'll vote in favor of impeaching" Kuczynski over allegations he lied about more than $782,000 his financial-consulting business, Westfield Capital Ltd., received from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht between 2004 and 2007, Salvador Heresi said.

    In a settlement in late 2016 with authorities in the United States, Brazil and Switzerland, Odebrecht and petrochemical unit Braskem pleaded guilty and agreed to pay at least $3.5 billion to resolve charges arising out of bid-rigging schemes that began as early as 2001 and involved the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to officials in more than a dozen countries.

    Kuczynski survived an earlier impeachment vote last December that was based on the same accusations.

    The president said Wednesday that he decided to resign in the face of a "climate of ungovernability."

    The release of recordings of attempts by the president's allies to buy lawmakers' votes ahead of Thursday's impeachment hearing made it appear that he was guilty of actions in which he had no part, Kuczynski said in a video message.

    Peru's Congress will vote on whether or not to accept Kuczynski's resignation on Friday.

    Vizcarra is due to arrive in the country Thursday night from Canada, where he was serving as his nation's ambassador.