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Martín Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo OSP (American Spanish: [maɾˈtin alˈβeɾto βisˈkara koɾˈnexo] (About this soundlisten);[a] born 22 March 1963) is a Peruvian engineer and politician who is the current President of Peru. Vizcarra previously served as Governor of the Moquegua Region (2011–2014), Minister of Transport and Communications of Peru (2016–2017), and Ambassador of Peru to Canada (2017–2018), both during the presidency of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Martín Vizcarra

Martin Vizcarra (Presidential Portrait).jpg
Official portrait of President Vizcarra after being sworn in, 2018.
67th President of Peru
Assumed office
23 March 2018
Prime MinisterMercedes Aráoz
César Villanueva
Salvador del Solar
Vicente Zeballos
Vice PresidentMercedes Aráoz
Preceded byPedro Pablo Kuczynski
President pro tempore of the Pacific Alliance
Assumed office
24 July 2018
Preceded byJuan Manuel Santos
First Vice President of Peru
In office
28 July 2016 – 23 March 2018
PresidentPedro Pablo Kuczynski
Preceded byMarisol Espinoza
Succeeded byMercedes Aráoz
Ambassador of Peru to Canada
In office
18 October 2017 – 23 March 2018
PresidentPedro Pablo Kuczynski
Preceded byMarcela López Bravo
Succeeded byCarlos Gil de Montes Molinari
Minister of Transport and Communications
In office
28 July 2016 – 22 May 2017
Prime MinisterFernando Zavala
Preceded byJosé Gallardo Ku
Succeeded byBruno Giuffra
Governor of the Moquegua Region
In office
1 January 2011 – 1 January 2015
Preceded byJaime Rodríguez Villanueva
Succeeded byJaime Rodríguez Villanueva
Personal details
Born
Martín Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo

(1963-03-22) 22 March 1963 (age 56)
Lima, Peru
Political partyPeruvians For Change (PPK)
Other political
affiliations
Peruvians for Change
Spouse(s)Maribel Díaz Cabello
Children4
Alma materNational University of Engineering

In the 2016 general election, Vizcarra ran with the Peruvians for Change presidential ticket as candidate for First Vice President and as running mate of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. The ticket narrowly defeated Keiko Fujimori's Popular Force nomination.

Vizcarra was sworn into office as president on 23 March 2018 following the resignation of President Kuczynski.[1][2] Demanding reforms against corruption, Vizcarra dissolved the Congress of Peru on 30 September 2019 and, the next day, issued a decree for legislative elections to be held on 26 January 2020.

Early lifeEdit

Vizcarra was born in Lima, the son of César Vizcarra Vargas, who was an APRA member, and Doris Cornejo, an elementary school teacher. His father was mayor of Moquegua and a member of the Constituent Assembly of 1978. His family was based in Moquegua, but moved to Lima due to a pulmonary complication that put him on the verge of death at his birth.

Vizcarra stated his father had a lasting impact on his life.[3]

EducationEdit

Vizcarra studied at the IEP Juan XXIII and the GUE Simón Bolívar, in Moquegua. For university education, Vizcarra graduated from the National University of Engineering in Lima in 1984[4] while also earning a degree in Management Administration from the School of Business Administration (ESAN).[5]

Governor of MoqueguaEdit

His political ambitions began in his home region of Moquegua, where he ran under the APRA party for the governorship in 2006, narrowly missing election.[3] In 2008, Vizcarra led protests, known as "Moqueguazo", surrounding unequal mining payments to the community.[3] He travelled to Lima to mediate the crisis, explaining the payment issue to the Peruvian Council of Ministers who agreed to make necessary changes to laws surrounding the issue. This event inspired Vizcarra's further political ambitions.[3]

In 2011, Vizcarra was elected to be Governor of Moquegua. During his tenure, social indexes improved and he avoided corruption issues, an achievement The Washington Post described as "one of the rare examples" in Peru. He also conciliated another mining conflict between mining company Anglo American and residents concerned about potential drinking water contamination by a proposed copper mine, playing a major role in settling the dispute. Vizcarra served as governor until the end of 2014.[3]

Vice presidencyEdit

Vizcarra was elected into the office of First Vice President of Peru in 2016 general election, running beside Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of the Peruanos Por el Kambio party. Shortly after being elected, he was tasked with serving in other ministries.

Minister of Transportation and CommunicationsEdit

As Minister of Transportation and Communications, Vizcarra served for about one year. During a series of floods in late 2017 and early 2018 which devastated much of Peru, he was tasked with managing the crisis.

With allegations of bribery and bureaucracy plaguing the construction of the Chinchero International Airport in Cusco, Vizcarra cancelled many contracts until an investigation by the Comptroller's Office was completed. After facing complaints by political opponents and being summoned to provide hours of testimony surrounding the project, all while being tasked with providing reconstruction following the flooding that affected Peru, Vizcarra resigned his position as minister. Shortly after his resignation, the Comptroller General Edgar Alarcón recommended legal action against ten officials involved with the airport's construction.[6]

Analysts stated that overall, Vizcarra's performance as minister was positive, though it was plagued by complications from the Fujimori family's political forces, known as Fujimoristas.[7]

Ambassador to CanadaEdit

After resigning from the previous ministry, he was appointed to be the Peruvian Ambassador to Canada, avoiding public attention.[3] He only returned to Peru during the first impeachment proceedings against President Kuczynski,[8] returning to Canada shortly thereafter.

President of PeruEdit

Following the resignation of President Kuczynski, Vizcarra returned to Peru to assume the presidency on 23 March 2018.[9] Upon being sworn in, Vizcarra stated in regards to corruption, "we've had enough", promising to lead against such practices in the Andean nation.[10]

Peruvian author and Nobel laureate in Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, stated that Vizcarra's "credentials are pretty good" and that although other Peruvian politicians have faced political controversy, Vizcarra "has acted within the law". Vargas Llosa also noted that if Vizcarra's popularity were to increase enough, "then immediately in Congress, the Fujimoristas will forget their internal struggles and will probably make life difficult for him".[11]

Climate changeEdit

On 17 April 2018, President Vizcarra signed the Law for Climate Change, allowing for more funding toward the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM) to monitor and combat climate change by analyzing greenhouse gas emissions while also creating a framework of inter-ministerial cooperation regarding the climate.[12][13]

The signing made Peru the first country in South America to have a climate law, with Vizcarra stating that climate change could no longer be ignored and that the Government of Peru had an obligation to work together to provide a better environment for future Peruvians.[12][13]

Anti-corruption initiativesEdit

2018 Peruvian constitutional referendumEdit

Following multiple corruption scandals facing the Peruvian government, on 28 July 2018, President Vizcarra called for a nationwide referendum to prohibit private funding for political campaigns, ban the reelection of lawmakers and to create a second legislative chamber.[14]

The Washington Post stated that "Vizcarra’s decisive response to a graft scandal engulfing the highest tiers of the judiciary ... has some Peruvians talking of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to restore integrity to public life and revive citizens’ waning faith in democracy".[15] Leftist lawmaker Marisa Glave, who was once a critic of Vizcarra, praised the move saying he had "connected with the people in a society that is both fed up with corruption but also deeply apolitical. It has put the Fujimoristas in check".[15] Transparency International also praised the move, stating that "This is a very important opportunity, one that is unlike previous opportunities because, in part, the president appears genuinely committed".[15]

Following the temporary detention of Keiko Fujimori, legislators belonging to American Popular Revolutionary Alliance and the Fujimorista-led Popular Force introduced a bill the following day on 11 October 2018 to remove Vizcarra's referendum proposals and to modify the referendum with their own suggestions to the public.[16]

On 9 December 2018, Peruvians ultimately accepted three of four of the proposals in the referendum, only rejecting the final proposal of creating a bicameral congress when Vizcarra withdrew his support when the Fujimorista-led congress manipulated the proposals contents which would have removed power from the presidency.[17]

Dissolution of congressEdit

In the Constitution of Peru, the executive branch can dissolve congress after a second vote of no-confidence.[18][19] Under former president of Peru Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the Congress of Peru made a no-confidence vote on 15 September 2017, resulting in the reformation of the Cabinet of Peru,[20] the first vote of no-confidence during that current congressional body.[18] Vizcarra enacted a constitutional process on 29 May 2019 that would create a motion of no confidence towards congress if they refused to cooperate with his proposed actions against corruption.[21] For the next four months, congress delayed bills targeting corruption and postponed general elections proposed by Vizcarra.[19]

Demanding reforms against corruption, Vizcarra called for a vote of no confidence on 27 September 2019, stating it was "clear the democracy of our nation is at risk".[18] Vizcarra and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights criticized congress for blocking a proposal for general elections while it quickly approved nominations to the Constitutional Court of Peru without investigating the backgrounds on nominees.[18] Vizcarra sought to reform the Constitutional Court nomination process and congress' approval or disapproval of his proposal was seen "as a sign of confidence in his administration".[18]

On 30 September 2019, congress named a new member to the Constitutional Court of Peru, the cousin of the house's president, who would most likely decide disputes between congress and the presidency, ignoring his proposal for reform.[19] Vizcarra argued that the appointment by congress was the second act of no-confidence in his government, granting him the authority to dissolve congress.[19] This act, as well as the months of slow progress towards anti-corruption reforms, pushed Vizcarra to dissolve congress later that day, with Vizcarra stating "Peruvian people, we have done all we could".[19] Shortly after Vizcarra announced the dissolution of congress, the legislative body refused to recognize the president's actions, declared Vizcarra as suspended from the presidency and named vice president Mercedes Aráoz as the new president of Peru.[19] Despite this, Peruvian government officials stated that the actions by congress were void as the body was officially closed at the time of their declarations.[19]

By nightfall, Peruvians gathered outside of the Legislative Palace of Peru to protest against congress and demand the removal of legislators[19] while the heads of the Peruvian Armed Forces met with Vizcarra, announcing that they still recognized him as president of Peru and head of the armed forces.[22]

Public imageEdit

During Vizcarra's inauguration ceremony, some Peruvians took to the streets to protest against the government, calling for the removal of all politicians.[10] Weeks later, an Ipsos survey in April 2018 found that out of those asked Vizcarra had an approval rate of 57%, a disapproval rate of 13% while about 30% of respondents were undecided.[23] A month later, Vizcarra's approval rating dipped to 52% according to a May 2018 Ipsos survey.[24] By September 2018 after he had called for a referendum, thousands of Peruvians marched in support of his proposal and to protest against Congress,[25] with Ipsos reporting that Vizcarra's approval rating reached a peak of 66% in December 2018.[26]

Into 2019, Ipsos polls showed that support for Vizcarra began to decline early in the year, that his approval rating in April 2019 was at 44% compared to 45% disapproval and that approval ratings were higher among upper-income respondents compared to lower-income respondents.[26] By the time Vizcarra dissolved congress, The Washington Post described him as "an unexpectedly popular president" as he dealt with "the monumental task of rooting out the South American nation’s widespread corruption".[18] After the dissolution of congress, Vizcarra's approval rating jumped from about 40% to 75% according to the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP), while 76% of respondents recognized him as the constitutional president of Peru.[27] Another poll by Peruvian pollster CPI found 85.1% of respondents approved of Vizcarra and 89.1% recognized him as president.[28]

Political ideologyEdit

Vizcarra is described as a centrist[29] and he has attributed his political beliefs as stemming from his father, with Vizcarra saying that his guidance made him concerned about social issues.[3] He is pro-business and values his ability to "know how to listen" and to "go step by step", with his supporters often describing him as a bridge builder who is able to mediate complicated situations.[3]

HonoursEdit

 
Vizcarra receiving the Keys to the City of Madrid next to Manuela Carmena.
Awards and orders Country Date Notes
  Grand Master of the Order of the Sun of Peru   Peru
  Grand Master of the Order of Merit for Distinguished Service   Peru
  Grand Master of the Military Order of Ayacucho   Peru
  Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry   Portugal 25 February 2019 [30]
  Knight of the Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic   Spain February 2019 [31]
Keys to the City of Madrid   Spain 27 February 2019 [32]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ In Peninsular Spanish, Vizcarra is pronounced [βiθˈkařa].

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Quigley, John (21 March 2018). "Vizcarra Set to Become Peru's New President Facing Daunting Challenges". Bloomberg. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  2. ^ Collyns, Dan (22 March 2018). "Peru president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigns amid corruption scandal". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Briceno, Franklin; Armario, Christine (23 March 2018). "Incoming Peru president a political novice facing tough odds". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Voto Informado". Voto Informado. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Martín Vizcarra Cornejo - Peruanos Por el Kambio - PPK". Peruanos Por el Kambio - PPK (in Spanish). 16 December 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  6. ^ Vásquez, Rocío la Rosa (22 May 2017). "Martín Vizcarra renuncia al MTC tras dejar sin efecto contrato de Chinchero". El Comercio (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  7. ^ Chávez, Paulo Rosas (23 May 2017). "Martín Vizcarra: entre la reconstrucción y su renuncia por Chinchero [ANÁLISIS]". El Comercio (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Martín Vizcarra llegó a Perú en medio de gran expectativa [FOTOS]". La República (in Spanish). 20 December 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  9. ^ EC, Redacción (22 March 2018). "Martín Vizcarra: "Estoy indignado por la situación actual"". El Comercio (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Martin Vizcarra Sworn In As Peru's New President". NPR. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Vargas Llosa: "Las credenciales de Martín Vizcarra son bastante buenas"". La República (in Spanish). 13 May 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Peru becomes the first country in South America to have a climate change law". Peru Reports. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Gobierno promulgó Ley Marco de Cambio Climático". El Comercio (in Spanish). 18 April 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  14. ^ Taj, Mitra. "Peru president proposes referendum on political, judicial reform". Reuters. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  15. ^ a b c Tegel, Simeon (12 August 2018). "Corruption scandals have ensnared 3 Peruvian presidents. Now the whole political system could change". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Referéndum | Congresistas presentan proyecto para retirar la bicameralidad y no reelección de congresistas". RPP (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  17. ^ Briceno, Franklin (9 December 2018). "Exit polling indicates Peruvians vote to fight corruption". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Briceno, Franklin (27 September 2019). "Peru leader pushes vote that could let him dissolve congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h "Peru's president dissolves Congress to push through anti-corruption reforms". The Guardian. 1 October 2019. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Peru's leader names new prime minister as he reforms Cabinet". Associated Press. 18 September 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Presidente de Perú considera disolver Congreso si legisladores no aprueban reforma política - Reuters". Reuters. 29 May 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  22. ^ "PERU'S POLICE AND THE JOINT COMMAND OF PERU'S MILITARY BRANCHES SAY THEY RECOGNIZE VIZCARRA AS PRESIDENT AND THE HEAD OF THE ARMED FORCES AND POLICE-STATEMENTS". Reuters. 1 October 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  23. ^ "Peru's Vizcarra Begins Presidency With 57 Pct Approval Rating". U.S. News & World Report. 15 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  24. ^ "El Comercio-Ipsos: El 52% aprueba la gestión de Martín Vizcarra". El Comercio (in Spanish). 13 May 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  25. ^ "Peru: Protesters Demand President Close Congress, Hold Referendum". Stratfor. 13 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  26. ^ a b "El Comercio-Ipsos: respaldo al presidente Martín Vizcarra cae 12 puntos". El Comercio (in Spanish). 14 April 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Disolución del Congreso | Martín Vizcarra | 84% de peruanos apoya la disolución del Congreso". RPP (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  28. ^ Perú (5 October 2019). "Disolución del Congreso: 89.5% está de acuerdo, según encuesta". Metro International (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  29. ^ Valencia, Alexandra (16 August 2018). "Ecuador, Peru tighten entry requirements for Venezuelans as influx swells". Reuters. Retrieved 17 August 2018. Centrist Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra took office in March ...
  30. ^ "Página Oficial da Presidência da República Portuguesa". www.presidencia.pt. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  31. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado" (PDF). Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  32. ^ "La alcaldesa entrega la Llave de Oro de Madrid al presidente de Perú". Ayuntamiento de Madrid. 27 February 2019.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Martín Vizcarra at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Jaime Rodríguez Villanueva
Governor of the Moquegua Region
2011–2014
Succeeded by
Jaime Rodríguez Villanueva
Preceded by
José Gallardo Ku
Minister of Transport and Communications
2016–2017
Succeeded by
Bruno Giuffra
Preceded by
Marisol Espinoza
First Vice President of Peru
2016–2018
Succeeded by
Mercedes Aráoz
Preceded by
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
President of Peru
2018–
Succeeded by
incumbent
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Marcela López Bravo
Ambassador of Peru to Canada
2017–2018
Succeeded by
Carlos Gil de Montes Molinari