LIMA – Peruvian lawmakers who helped the country’s president survive an impeachment vote in the Congress on Thursday said that democracy had won with the rejection of the motion.
Seventy-nine legislators voted in favor – short of the 87 required to impeach Pablo Kuczynski – and 19 against the motion, along with 21 abstentions.
Prime Minister Mercedes Araoz highlighted the democratic spirit during the session in the parliament, which lasted more than 13 hours, and made the case for reconciliation and peace with proponents of Fujimorism and the Broad Front, a coalition of leftist parties, who have been advocating the impeachment.
“I am sure that on our side there will be no arrogance. There will be an opportunity for dialog. We do not want enter into processes that would be painful for the country,” said Araoz, who is also the second vice president of Peru.
Lawmaker Vicente Zeballos said that with the decision the country and democracy had emerged as the victors.
“Our democratic spirit has been renewed. It has been a long day and we have had to act with a lot of maturity, sense and responsibility,” he said.
Marisol Espinoza of the Alliance for Progress stressed the victory for democracy, but warned that this did not mean that Kuczynski could not be investigated by other authorities, for example, the courts.
“The country has become peaceful once again and we demand an all-out attack on corruption. The task that the government now has is guaranteeing governability,” she added.
Fujimorist Cecilia Chacon, whose party was one of the chief proponents of the impeachment motion, said that her group would respect the result.
She added that her party would ask 10 of its members, including Kenji Fujimori – son of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is now in prison – why they had abstained and not voted in favor of the motion like the rest of Fujimorists.
According to Chacon, the abstention of these lawmakers was motivated by the fact that the government had promised them that it would release Fujimori in return for not voting in favor of the motion.
Mauricio Mulder, spokesperson of the Peruvian Aprista Party, lamented the fact that two out of his party’s five lawmakers had abstained and not voted in favor.
Mulder said that the result was a triumph of corruption and reiterated his stance that Kuczynski had received money from the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht in a corruption scandal.
The impeachment motion was based on the suspicion that Kuczynski had lied when he denied links to Odebrecht, a company that revealed last week that it had paid $782,000 to Westfield Capital, allegedly owned by Kuczynski, for consultations between 2004 and 2007, when he was a minister under former President Alejandro Toledo.
Kuczynski denied having done anything illegal and has offered to respond to all investigations carried out regarding the matter.