Peru’s President Hangs On to Power, but at What Cost?

Cesar Landa, law professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a former president and magistrate of the country’s Constitutional court, said the Popular Force party had “attempted an untraditional coup d’état.”

This year, the Popular Force party — whose political philosophy is often referred to as Fujimorismo — forced Mr. Kuczynski to fire his entire cabinet by refusing to endorse his nominees. At the time, his supporters had advised the president to use a little-known constitutional measure to force new legislative elections. Mr. Kuczynski didn’t go that route, but this week he said he regretted not doing it.

“A mistake that I now see clearly was to expect anything else from our rivals,” Mr. Kuczynski said. “I opted for dialogue and not confrontation.”

Then, other opponents — this time from the left — said he lied during a congressional inquiry by stating he had no professional ties to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, a company at the center of a complex graft scandal. It was later revealed that a financial services company he owned had received $782,000 from Odebrecht.

That led to the motion of impeachment.

The motion, on the grounds of “permanent moral incapability,” has been tested only once before — with Mr. Fujimori himself — but only after he had fled Peru for Japan and resigned from the presidency.

Mr. Fujimori, a hard-right authoritarian leader, was in power from 1990 to 2000 before being convicted on corruption and human rights abuses and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He has served 12 years, but he says that his health is deteriorating and that he should be pardoned.

Even from prison, though, he is still influencing politics, and his supporters, so-called Fujimoristas, have continued to dominate the legislature. Hector Becerril, a Popular Force member who voted for impeachment, said Mr. Fujimori urged members of his party, by phone, to cast votes of abstention and not vote in favor of the…

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