Peru’s President Narrowly Escapes Impeachment Over Bribery Scandal

Peru’s President Narrowly Escapes Impeachment Over Bribery ScandalPeru’s President Narrowly Escapes Impeachment Over Bribery Scandal

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski narrowly survived an impeachment vote late Thursday over graft allegations linked to Brazilian construction firm implicated in Latin America’s biggest corruption scandal.

Peru came eight votes short of impeaching the president following a half-day of impassioned debate in the wood-paneled chamber where the 79-year-old former Wall Street banker himself delivered a forceful defense, France 24 reported.

Applause erupted inside Congress and his supporters cheered and waved Peruvian flags outside as it became clear Kuczynski would remain president.

“Tomorrow a new chapter in our history begins: the reconciliation and reconstruction of our country,” Kuczynski tweeted afterward.

The impeachment effort against Peru’s embattled president was the latest chapter in the Odebrecht bribery scandal that has ended the careers of some of Latin America’s most prominent politicians. The company admitted in a 2016 US Justice Department agreement to paying nearly $800 million in kickbacks to politicians, their campaigns and political parties to secure lucrative public works contracts.

In Ecuador, Vice President Jorge Glas has been sentenced to six years in prison for orchestrating an Odebrecht bribery scheme. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is appealing his conviction on charges of corruption and money laundering related to the plot. In Peru, two former presidents stand accused of accepting money from Odebrecht. One is behind bars and the other in the US seeking to avoid extradition.

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