Francisco Sagasti becomes interim president

“I swear to the homeland and all Peruvians to exercise the office of president”, said Francisco Sagasti during a plenary session of Parliament. The 76-year-old officially became the new president of Peru on Tuesday, November 17, with the task of ending the deep political crisis that is shaking the South American country and leading him to the general elections in April 2021.

→ READ. Peru plunges back into political instability

He immediately promised that the presidential and legislative elections of April 11 would take place “Without a hitch” and will be “Absolutely transparent”. The election Monday, November 16 of Francisco Sagasti to the head of Parliament, in a vote in which he was the only candidate, automatically made him the new leader of Peru due to the vacancy at the head of state. He is the third to hold this position in just over a week.

Removal of a popular president

In a country accustomed to a very strong political instability, this new period of turbulence was opened on November 9 by the Parliament itself: the deputies voted for the dismissal of the popular president Martin Vizcarra (center-right) for suspicion of corruption when he was governor in 2014, when no judicial investigation had been carried out.

The head of Parliament (therefore, in fact, interim president after Vizcarra’s departure), the opponent Manuel Merino, also of the center-right, then took the reins of the country, angering thousands of demonstrators, mostly young people took to the streets to protest against a ” Rebellion “ parliamentary.

Against the tide of the local political class, in 32 months in office, Martin Vizcarra had become a popular president by making the fight against corruption his main battle horse. He has “Categorically” denied the bribery charges that earned him his dismissal.

Request for forgiveness from the families of two demonstrators killed

After five days of violently repressed demonstrations, which resulted in the death of two young protesters aged 22 and 24 and hundreds of injured, Manuel Merino, let go by the political class, finally threw in the towel. One of the demonstrators missing since Saturday November 14 and found Tuesday and explained to have been ” held captive “ by the police.

During his inauguration speech, Francisco Sagasti asked “Sorry (…) in the name of the State” to the families of the two demonstrators killed. The moderate and consensual personality of Francisco Sagasti, more technocrat than political, and who had not voted for the dismissal of Martin Vizcarra, should now make it possible to unblock the institutional crisis.

During his speech, Francisco Sagasti also indicated that during the eight months of his mandate, until July 28, 2021, his priority would be the management of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. He promised to do his best to “Reduce contamination but without affecting the economy. Peru, 33 million people, is one of the most bereaved countries in the world in terms of its population, with more than 930,000 reported cases and 35,000 deaths, while the economy plunged 30% in the second quarter.

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