Peru's president offers resignation on eve of impeachment

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski waves goodbye to his staff as he leaves the Government Palace also known as the House of Pizarro in Lima Peru Wednesday

Peru's President Kuczynski Tenders Resignation, Promises Constitutional Transition

His resignation follows widely circulated videos of the President's political allies appearing to be buying the votes of lawmakers in the lead-up to Thursday's congressional impeachment hearing.

The brief presidential term of Kuczynski, which began on July 28, 2016, was characterized by his weakness and his persistent desire to coordinate his administration with Fuerza Popular (FP), of Keiko Fujimori, whose majority parliamentary caucus played a vital role for the wear and the end of its mandate, driven by progressive banks.

"Faced with this hard situation that unfairly makes me appear guilty, I think the best thing for the country is for me to resign the presidency of the republic", Kuczynski said in a prerecorded televised address to the nation of 30 million people.

Days later, Kuczynski pardoned the feuding siblings' father, former President Alberto Fujimori, from a 25-year jail sentence for human rights abuses committed during his decade-long rule.

Kuczynski survived his first impeachment by only eight votes.

“The best thing for the country is that I resign the presidency, ” he said, surrounded by Cabinet ministers and other senior officials.

If his resignation is accepted, Kuczynski would become the first sitting president removed from office in Latin America as an indirect effect of the Odebrecht scandal.

Their change of heart followed the release of secretly filmed videos that appear to show government-allied lawmakers telling a member of Peru's biggest opposition party, Popular Force, that he would control public works in his jurisdiction if he abstained in Thursday's planned impeachment vote. His main defender is Kenji Fujimori, who led a splinter group of lawmakers that defied his sister Keiko's leadership of the Popular Force party and blocked the first impeachment attempt.

The scandal involving bribes paid by Brazilian construction companies to politicians has made another high-profile victim in Latin America.

"This government thought it could buy everything". Within hours the opposition was able to count 102 votes in their favor, including lawmakers in Kuczynski's own party.

"Peru is a strong democracy, and we are confident the Peruvian people and institutions will address this situation according to Peru's constitutional norms", a spokesperson for the embassy said.

In a televised message to the nation, Kuczynski said he would offer his resignation to avoid being an "obstacle" to the country.

"In another video, a congressman, Bienvenido Ramírez, bragged about all the benefits he had received because of his support of Mr. Kuczynski". In December, Odebrecht admitted paying several million dollars to two consulting companies linked to Kuczynski when he was a minister between 2004 and 2006.

The government fired the official late on Tuesday and denied it had awarded any public work contracts in exchange for political support.

Latest News