FIDH - Peru: Presidential Vacancy Is a Blow to Democracy

Press release
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París, Lima, November 10, 2020
FIDH and its affiliate organisations in Peru would like to express their deep objection to Congress’ decision to oust the President, Martín Vizcarra for being “permanently morally unfit” to hold office. This regrettable decision is the result of putting personal interests above the best interests of the nation and its people.

The motion for impeachment is the consequence of the testimony of four immunized witnesses who testified that Vizcarra received illicit payments from 2011 to 2014 when he was the Governor of Moquegua. So far this year, Congress has tried to impeach President Vizcarra on several occasions, citing multiple reasons. Until yesterday, all previous attempts were unsuccessful because they lacked credible evidence, were not corroborated, or accepted by the Prosecutor’s office.

What these attempts have done is undermine Peru’s ability to be governed in a democratic fashion. The seriousness of this decision destabilises the balance of power and opens the path to populist decisions in favor of special interests no one to counter them in the executive branch.

This impeachment is a parliamentary coup. President Vizcarra should have been investigated for alleged corruption before taking power. Nevertheless, these events are not the application of an article related to moral incapacity to execute duties. Even worse, some of those who voted to impeach are also being investigated and prosecuted for serious crimes.

“Those who voted to impeach have handed power to groups with special interests in education, land trafficking, transportation, and human trafficking, to name a few”.

Gloria Cano, FIDH Secretary General and Member of Aprodeh Perú.

This decision was made in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, and -at only 5 months before the end of the term- constitutes an irresponsible abuse of power and an arbitrary interpretation of the faculties that Peru’s constitution lays down.

"The end of the separation of powers, the reversal of ongoing political reform, obstacles to the fight against corruption that have resulted in putting much of the old political class (including several ex-presidents), and the breakdown of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights are very dangerous precedents; as is the predictable attack on the human rights of workers, communities, indigenous people, and towns that depend on extractive industries. All of this is spurred on by business practices that know no bounds and demand an immediate reopening of the economy, no matter what the cost."

Javier Mujica, Board Member of Perú Equidad.

FIDH and its affiliate organisations in Peru shall be attentive to the actions that the government takes to address the legitimate demands of citizens to deal with a situation that is considered to be unconstitutional and make sure that the upcoming presidential elections on April 11, 2021 are carried out in a democratic and transparent fashion.

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