Peru spiraled further into political chaos this week as Vice President Mercedes Araoz resigned after turning down the position of interim president.
She announced her resignation Tuesday, stating the constitutional order has been “broken.”
Her resignation comes amid deepening political unrest that began Monday when President Martin Vizcarra dissolved Congress and ordered snap elections to be held Jan. 26.
In retaliation, opposition lawmakers who control Congress, voted to suspend Vizcarra for 12 months then nominated Araoz to head the country, which she initially accepted, stating the decision to do so was “one of the most difficult” of her life.
Vizcarra, who took over the presidency in 2018 after the resignation of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, dissolved Congress after the opposition wouldn’t back his reforms aimed at uprooting corruption, which has hobbled the country’s political elite in recent years.
Dissolving Congress also initiated general elections, another goal Vizcarra has been hoping to achieve amid pushback from opposition lawmakers.
“This exceptional measure will permit the citizenry to finally express themselves and define, at the polls and through their participation, the future of our country,” Vizcarra said Monday.
While the call for elections was met with praise from citizens in the streets of the capital Lima, opposition lawmakers lashed out, calling the move to dissolve Congress as that of a dictator.
Meanwhile, heads of the various branches of Peru’s security forces have issued support for Vizcarra, with the president’s office circulating a picture via Twitter containing the general commanders of the army, navy, air force and police with the suspended president.