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Amid power struggle, Peru’s vice president resigns
Mercedes Aráoz was named Interim leader by opposition legislators on Monday has resigned. Photo: NAN

Peru’s Vice President, Mercedes Araoz, resigned from her position late Tuesday as a power struggle roils the South American nation.

Araoz’s resignation came after President Martin Vizcarra on Monday disbanded the opposition-controlled Congress and called for fresh elections in January. She said the move was necessary because the legislature has refused to pass a raft of anti-corruption reforms he has been championing, as well as changes to the way top judges are appointed.

Some Peruvians took to the streets in celebration.

Governors and leaders of the armed forces also came out in support of Vizcarra, who assumed office in March 2018.

However, a group of opposition lawmakers voted to suspend Vizcarra from office and nominate Araoz as interim president, leading to confusion about who was the country’s rightful leader.

Then, late Tuesday, Araoz announced on Twitter she was resigning as vice president and declining the opposition’s appointment as interim leader. Araoz said she hoped her decision would help smooth the path toward a general election that could pull Peru out of its political dysfunction.

For months, Vizcarra had threatened to dissolve parliament unless it supported reforms to campaign financing, the curbing of parliamentary immunity against prosecution, the prevention convicted people from running for office, among others.

Vizcarra proposed the reforms last year in response to revelations of massive corruption within the judiciary. They were backed by the vast majority of Peruvians in a referendum in December.

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