The caretaker President of Peru, who is facing widespread opposition, resigned on Sunday for the sixth day in a row, plunging the country into a devastating pandemic of constitutional crisis.
President Manuel Merino took office on Tuesday after lawmakers shocked the country by voting to oust prominent former president Martin Vizcara and then swear in Congress leader Mr Merino.
From the first moments of his tenure, Mr Merino faced opposition from Peruvians who took to the streets in protest and from prominent political and social leaders, many of whom said they did not recognize Mr Merino as president.
On Sunday, several cabinet ministers resigned and his last political ally called for him to step down from the Congress office that elected him. Mr. Merino took care.
“I submit my irrevocable resignation,” Mr Merino said in a video address to the nation on Sunday. “I call for peace and unity among all Peruvians.”
Mr Merino said the focus now would be on seeing the new leader change smoothly to avoid a power vacuum. Congress announced on Sunday that it would appoint a new president from the legislature later that day.
However, it is unclear whether the Peruvians will accept Mr Merino’s successor as their leader and end the daily protests that have rocked the country. The country’s Congress has not been very popular – half of its members are under investigation for corruption and other crimes – and many blame its members ’political opportunism for the current crisis.
Protests erupted in the streets of the capital Lima, and then in other cities across the country after a majority of lawmakers voted Monday to oust then-president Mr Vizcara. In dismissing him, members of the legislature cited unproven allegations of corruption and used an ancient constitutional provision that allowed Congress to declare the president morally incompetent to lead the country.
Mr Vizcara is due to retire after the April presidential election and has promised justice after his retirement. During his two years in the presidency he won the support of the majority of Peruvians by working to clean up Peru’s infamous political establishment.