Peru's Congress has voted overwhelmingly to start President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's impeachment process over allegations that he received bribes from a Brazilian construction company. Kuczynski has denied any wrongdoing.
The opposition-controlled Peruvian Congress voted Friday 93-17 in support of the proposal to debate President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's impeachment on December 21.
"The decision will be communicated to the president to exercise his right to defense (during the next session) and assist with a lawyer, if required," said Luis Galarreata, the head of the Latin American country's single-chamber Congress.
Kuczynski's dismissal would need 87 votes in the 130-strong Congress.
The president was accused of taking bribes from the Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht. The graft scandal was disclosed earlier this week, with claims that Odebrecht paid the president 5 million dollars (4.25 million euros) in consulting fees between 2004 and 2013. Kuczynski was economy minister and head of then-president Alejandro Toledo's cabinet during that period.
Kuczynski insisted Thursday there was nothing illegal about the payments.
"I am not going to abdicate my honor, my values or my responsibilities as president," Kuczynski said in a televised speech on Thursday after the right-wing Popular Force Party threatened to unseat him.
"I won't run, I won't hide, nor do I have any reason to do so," he said.
A multinational scandal
Kuczynski is the third Peruvian president to become embroiled in the corruption scandal involving Odebrecht. Former President Ollanta Humala is in detention and Toledo could be extradited from the US over the Odebrecht affair.
Politicians in Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela have also been hit hard by the scandal.
shs/ng (AFP, Reuters)