LIMA – The aim of the new Peruvian government will be to restore public confidence in institutions and stabilize the economy, Martin Vizcarra said on Friday in his first words as president following the sudden resignation of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
“Our economic project will take Peru along the path of credibility and stability,” he told Congress after taking the oath of office, adding that his administration will “hold on to what is working well, modify what can be improved and undertake what has not been done so far.”
“Education will be a central pillar” of his administration, he said, adding that he defines economic development as “improvement in the quality of life of each and every Peruvian.”
Vizcarra also said that he will introduce an “entirely new Cabinet,” within a few days.
“I have the strength and determination to face the challenge,” he said, while stressing that the challenge must be “met by everyone jointly.”
Prior to Friday, Vizcarra who had been serving simultaneously as vice president and Peru’s ambassador to Canada.
He arrived in Lima from Ottawa on Thursday, a day after Kuczynski offered his resignation as Congress was preparing to vote on impeachment for the second time in four months.
Lawmakers accused Kuczynski of lying about more than $782,000 his financial-consulting business, Westfield Capital Ltd., received from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht between 2004 and 2007.
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 the first impeachment bid, in December, thanks to the votes of 10 lawmakers who defected from the main opposition party.
The president seemed prepared to fight the second impeachment motion until the release early this week of recordings of attempts by his president’s allies to buy lawmakers’ votes ahead of the debate scheduled for Thursday.