Peruvian Politics Under Strain

Ben Raderstorf / Inter-American Dialogue

On December 14th, Michael Shifter, President of the Dialogue sat with Alberto Vergara, Professor at Universidad del Pacífico, for a talk on the political crisis ongoing in Peru. 

According to Vergara, the recent news that President Kuczynski (popularly also known as PPK) received payments connected to Odebrecht while serving as Minister of the Economy and Prime Minister means that he is lying about having committed a crime. “He lied the first time in 2016 when he declared that he had never received money from Odebrecht, then he lied again when the President sent a letter to the commission in Congress investigating Lava Jato.” 

That said, he argued that Fujimorismo (the political movement of PPK's primary political rival, Keiko Fujimori), does not necessarily want to carry the weight of forcing out President Kuczynski from office through an impeachment process. Instead, they may seek to compel him to resign without impeachment, which could leave the impression that the opposition is responsible for the resulting political instability. In the longer term, Fujimorismo has two options: attempt to remove not only the President but also force new elections or oust Kuczynski and leave a very weak successor in office with little room for political maneuver. “If Keiko thinks she can win a presidential election, she might press the President to resign and create a political crisis even worse than now to ensure that the President of Congress is sworn in as President, and according to law, he would have to call for elections. If Keiko thinks she cannot win the presidential elections right now, she will wait until the next elections.”

The conversation was followed by questions from the audience on topics such as Peru’s foreign policy and foreign investment in the country, past corruption allegations against PPK, and the US-Peru bilateral relationship.

Watch the full event recording here:

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