Vizcarra takes over as Peru’s president, vows to fight corruption

Martin Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo was on Friday officially named President of the Republic of Peru for the 2018-2021 term replacing Pedro Pablo Kuczynski who resigned on Wednesday after videos emerged of his allies trying to buy votes one day ahead of a second impeachment motion against him.

Vizcarra, 55,  was sworn-in by Congress Chairman Luis Galarreta, who granted him the presidential sash. He arrived at Congress facilities (pictured) at 1pm.

Earlier, Vizcarra was serving as Peru’s ambassador to Canada. He arrived in Lima on Friday.

Soon after taking over, Vizcarra said his administration’s priority will be fighting corruption.  His predecessor Kuczynski had to leave because of his close links with the corrupt Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht .

Even before Vizcarra’s swearing-in, calls for fresh elections started. New Peru party’s leader and former presidential candidate Verónika Mendoza urged Vizcarra  to approve electoral reforms for free and fair polls involving genuine candidates representing various parties instead of those representing big businesses.

However, according to Peru’s Constitution, Vizcarra can either accept full-time presidency or resign paving way for special elections if the second vice president also steps down. A report last week cited Vizcarra as saying he has no plans to resign after serving as interim president.

If Vizcarra wants to continue as president, he will have to ensure a corruption-free government. Reforms must be introduced to turn around the economy and raise the living standards of over 30 million Peruvians.

Kuczynski and previous presidents like Alejandro Toledo and Ollanta Humala were not interested in people’s welfare. Their focus was on helping Odebrecht win contracts for massive projects in Preu.

Odebrecht has confessed to paying nearly $800 million in bribes to leaders in 12 countries, 10 of them in Latin America.