LIMA – Opposition lawmakers introduced a resolution on Thursday in Congress to remove Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski from office, citing his links to a corruption scandal centered on Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
A total of 28 legislators signed the resolution, Congressman Cesar Villanueva said, adding that the impeachment motion’s backers included members of the right-wing Popular Party, the leftist Broad Front and New Peru parties, the Alliance for Progress, the APRA party and independents.
Last December, a broad coalition of opposition lawmakers presented a bill to declare Kuczynski’s “permanent moral incapacity” due to his failure to disclose payments by Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht to a company he owned.
A vote will be held in the full Congress on the latest impeachment resolution, which would then have to be debated and voted on at another session.
To remove the president from office, 87 of the 130 members of Congress must vote in favor of the motion against Kuczynski, who would be succeeded by First Vice President Martin Vizcarra, who is currently Peru’s ambassador to Canada.
Popular Party lawmakers voted unanimously to approve the motion, opening the way for debate on Kuczynski’s removal from office, said Villanueva, a member of the Alliance for Progress.
As of Wednesday, Villanueva had gathered 24 of the 26 signatures needed to move the motion forward.
The Popular Party, which is led by Keiko Fujimori, daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori, decided early Thursday to back the motion.
Kuczynski said on Wednesday that he would not resign, arguing there was no reason to do so.
On Dec. 14, Kuczynski delivered an address to the nation in which he denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight legislative efforts to force him out of office.
In a letter published on Dec. 16 by Peruvian daily La Republica, Odebrecht said the more than decade-old payments it made to Kuczynski’s company when he was a Cabinet minister were within the bounds of the law.
Odebrecht revealed it paid more than $782,000 to Westfield Capital for consulting services between 2004-2007, a period in which Kuczynski served as then-President Alejandro Toledo’s prime minister and economy minister.
Kuczynski has acknowledged being the owner of Westfield but said his friend and business partner, Chilean businessman Gerardo Sepulveda, was managing the company’s contracts at the time.
The president has also admitted that after his time as a Cabinet minister he worked for another company – Sepulveda-owned First Capital – as a consultant on an Odebrecht project.