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Peru’s Congress elects veteran leader Francisco Sagasti as interim president

The Parliament of Peru has unblocked this Monday the serious political crisis that began a week ago with the removal of President Martín Vizcarra with the election of veteran congressman Francisco Sagasti, 76, as interim ruler. After the resignation of Manuel Merino, who held the position of head of the provisional government for five days, Congress has managed to unblock the vote for a substitute, whose main mission will be to lead the country towards the April elections. Peruvians have been waiting in suspense for an exit to the impasse institutional in the midst of mass mobilizations.

Since noon on Sunday, the executive and legislative branches of Peru had no one at the helm. Parliament failed to reach consensus on Sunday night to elect its new president, who was to take over as interim president to replace Merino, who was forced to resign after six days of massive protests against him. A first list that would have brought a left-wing congresswoman to the presidency, the writer Rocío Silva Santisteban, did not reach the necessary votes, despite the fact that the spokespersons of the parties that made up the list offered them to her at first.

While the parliamentarians voted, thousands of young protesters awaited the outcome at the doors of Congress: some wearing the Peruvian flag, others with posters in memory of Inti Sotelo and Bryan Pintado, who died Saturday night, victims of police repression during the protests calling for Merino’s resignation.

This Monday, the struggle of two lists that, in essence, embodied the positions of those who promoted the dismissal of Vizcarra and the groups that rejected the motion of censure, was raised at first. The latter, led by veteran congressman Francisco Sagasti, were emerging as favorites, according to the calculations of previous negotiations. And finally the list of his rivals, whose victory would have threatened to multiply the wave of protests, fell due to a formal ruling.