- Title: Peru's 'Mechita', the rebel lawmaker who was 'president' for a day
- Date: 2nd October 2019
- Summary: LIMA, PERU (RECENT - SEPTEMBER 30, 2019) (REUTERS) SWEARING-IN CEREMONY WITH ARAOZ AS INTERIM PRESIDENT LAWMAKERS APPLAUDING
- Embargoed: 16th October 2019 15:40
- Keywords: Peru resignation Vice President Mercedes Araoz President Martin Vizcarra Lima Congress
- Location: LIMA, PERU / INTERNET
- City: LIMA, PERU / INTERNET
- Country: Peru
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002AZEONRB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: In a hasty ceremony on Monday (September 30), rebel lawmakers swore in Vice President Mercedes Araoz as Peru's interim leader, looking to install her in place of President Martin Vizcarra after he moved to dissolve Congress to end a long-running political stand-off.
On Tuesday (October 1) night, Araoz abruptly renounced her claim after a public outcry in which military leaders rallied around Vizcarra, who has pushed anti-corruption reforms in defiance of the opposition-controlled Congress.
The bizarre episode - which meant the South American nation briefly had two rival claimants to the presidency - was the latest twist in Peru's worst constitutional crisis in decades, as Vizcarra and lawmakers have jostled for power.
Araoz's step-down marked a major blow for the opposition. They had declared Vizcarra suspended on the grounds he had violated the constitution in his push to strong-arm lawmakers into backing his anti-graft proposals.
Vizcarra has said he had no choice but to invoke a nuclear option in Peru's constitution to call new legislative elections, saying he preferred to let voters weigh in on his year-long push to get Congress to pass his anti-graft reforms.
Graft scandals have tainted judges, lawmakers and four former presidents in recent years, and the opposition-run Congress has emerged as one of Peru's most unpopular institutions.
(Production: Carlos Valdez)
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