Three months of crisis and six days of protests that upset Peru

The transitory government of Manuel Merino in Peru was born in the midst of citizen protests, which did not abate and ended up achieving his resignation after six days of intense pressure in the streets, which came after the death of two protesters and a hundred injured in the last mobilization in Lima.

The serious political crisis in Peru began to be oriented towards this tragic outcome since last September, when Congress tried to remove Martín Vizcarra for the first time.

This is the chronology of the main events in these days of political crisis:

– September 18: Congress, chaired by Manuel Merino, debates a vacancy motion (dismissal) against Martín Vizcarra for “moral incapacity” due to irregularities in the hiring of singer Richard “Swing” Cisneros.

Vizcarra denounces that Merino conspired against him and tried to contact the Armed Forces before even starting the impeachment trial.

The motion does not receive the support of the plenary session, but Vizcarra does not clarify or clear the doubts about his relationship with Cisneros.

– October 18: Peruvian media report that aspiring effective collaborators (awarded whistleblowers) accuse Vizcarra of having received bribes when he was governor of the Moquegua region between 2011 and 2014.

– October 22: Parliament approves a new impeachment request against Vizcarra as a result of these press complaints, which have not been corroborated despite seeming credible.

– November 9: Congress debates and approves the removal of Vizcarra for “moral incapacity” and then Manuel Merino takes the oath of office, to whom the succession corresponds according to the Political Constitution.

Nothing seemed to predict this result, which surprises the Government.

That same afternoon the protests began in the streets of the country, in rejection of the vacancy of Vizcarra, who enjoyed popularity, and due to the evident imbalance of powers, since Merino is still a member of parliament and officially head of the Legislative Assembly.

Congress, whose interests subordinate to the removal of Vizcarra are not hidden behind the cloak of “fighting corruption” that it argues to justify the removal, is also the target of public anger.

– November 11: The veteran former minister and former legislator Ántero Flores-Aráoz, very conservative, becomes president of the Council of Ministers and declares that he does not understand why people are protesting in the streets and asks the protesters to calm down.

– November 12: Merino swears in his full cabinet of ministers, including former ministers and former officials of the last right-wing and extreme-right governments, and with links to large business sectors.

Several are linked to the group Confluencia Republicana, minority and radical.

That night, thousands of protesters marched in the streets of Lima and the main cities of the country for the third day in a row, under the slogan #EstePresidenteNoMeRepresenta to demand the departure of Merino and the first were injured by pellets, as a result of police repression.

– November 14: A new day of massive citizen protest runs through the streets of the country, among which young students and civil organizations stand out.

The largest march is concentrated in the center of Lima with the intention of reaching the headquarters of the Congress.

That night, the Police repressed the protesters again and as time went by, two students were known to have died, a hundred injured and around 41 disappeared.

– November 15: During the early morning there is a continuous trickle of resignations of ministers of State as a result of the violence unleashed in the demonstration, and various political and social sectors demand the removal of Merino from office.

The president of Congress, Luis Valdez, urges Merino to present his resignation letter and calls an extraordinary session of the plenary to decide to change the board of directors and censure the then president.

At noon, Merino announces his irrevocable resignation from office, in a message to the nation, in which he invokes the peace and tranquility of all Peruvians, ending a week of intense political tension in the country.

Parliament must decide in the plenary session who will lead the new board of directors and who, in turn, will succeed Merino as president of the Republic.