In growing crisis, Peru seeks third president in a week

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LIMA – Peru woke up on Monday morning still searching for a new head of state after lawmakers failed overnight to appoint what would be the third president in a week.

Interim leader Manuel Merino resigned Sunday after the ousting last week of his predecessor, centrist Martin Vizcarra, sparked protests and dragged the country into a constitutional crisis.

Congress is now looking for a replacement to lead the country towards the April elections of next year. Lawmakers failed in a midnight vote to select the only name then proposed, Rocío Silva-Santisteban, a left-wing human rights defender.

The country’s fragmented and unpopular legislature will vote again at 2 p.m. (7:00 p.m. GMT) on Monday when another name is on the list: lawmaker Francisco Sagasti, a 76-year-old industrial engineer and former World Bank official.

The political upheaval adds to the uncertainty facing Peru, the no of the world. 2 copper producer, already hit hard by COVID-19 and heading for its worst economic contraction in a century.

Vizcarra was dismissed and removed from his post by Congress last week over corruption allegations, which he denies.

Merino, who as president of Congress led the impeachment, succeeded Vizcarra. But he, too, has resigned, after two people died in protests against his fledgling government and lawmakers threatened to remove him unless he resigns.

“There is political immaturity on the part of some and a lack of self-awareness on the part of others in the face of what happened in the country last week,” lawmaker Alberto de Belaunde told reporters. , of the centrist Morado party.

His party is now nominating Sagasti to be Peru’s third president in a week.

“The main thing for Peru is to regain stability and put an end to this nightmare,” added de Belaunde.

Amid the uncertainty, Peru’s markets and currency came under pressure. Bonds rose, then fell early Monday.

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