Peruvian President announces resignation before impeachment vote

Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski waves goodbye to his staff as he leaves the Government Palace also known as the House of Pizarro in Lima Peru Wednesday

Kuczynski survived his first impeachment by only eight votes.

Peru's vice president, Martin Vizcarra, is expected to be sworn in to replace Kuczynski later today.

"Faced with this hard situation that unfairly makes me appear guilty, I think the best thing for the country is for me to resign the presidency of the republic", he said in the televised address, which showed him seated at a polished conference table with his cabinet standing grim-faced behind him.

In December he pardoned former President Alberto Fujimori from jail in an apparent deal with lawmakers to avoid an impeachment.

Riot police divert a man shouting slogans against Peru’s government outside Government Palace also known as the House of Pizarro in Lima Peru Wednesday
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Peru's president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has offered his resignation, after secret video recordings entangled him in a new corruption scandal, on the eve of an impeachment vote. “I don't want to be an obstacle for the nation finding the path of union and harmony that it so badly needs and which was denied me.”.

“If he doesnt (resign), I hereby announce that Ill vote in favor of impeaching” Kuczynski over allegations he lied about more than $782,000 his financial-consulting business, Westfield Capital Ltd., received from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht between 2004 and 2007, Salvador Heresi said.

Odebrecht has admitted to having paid $800 million in bribes to obtain construction contracts in 10 Latin American countries, including Peru.

President Trump has said he will attend the event - making it his first stop in Latin America since taking office.

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It was unclear whether the opposition-controlled Congress would accept his resignation or move forward with its plan to vote on immediately forcing him from office on Thursday on grounds he is "morally unfit" to govern.

Several lawmakers close to Fujimori abstained from the vote.

Jaramillo stressed that the impeachment scenario that Kuczynski faced was different from the one he was due to face in December due to the video leaks and since the president had nothing to offer in exchange for his continuity, unlike he did in December, when he supposedly negotiated Fujimori's pardon.

Beyond the conservative leader's departure, the outlook is uncertain, with many Peruvians expressing disgust with their entire political class - not just Kuczynski, but also his accusers, led by Fujimori's daughter Keiko.

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"This administration thought money could buy everything", Keiko Fujimori wrote on Twitter.

The impeachment of the President that Congress had scheduled for Thursday appeared to be losing momentum, according to leading political analysts. His escape was narrow enough to embolden opponents to make a second attempt, and on Wednesday, some lawmakers who previously supported him called for his resignation after allegations he sought to reward politicians in exchange for retaining power.

In an address to the nation, Mr Kuczynski said the video footage had been edited to incriminate him. "I'm outraged by the current situation like the majority of Peruvians".

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