Merino was appointed after previous president Martín Vizcarra was impeached last week.

Por Alma Sacasa
Noviembre 16, 2020
Credit: David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

On Sunday, Peru's interim leader Manuel Merino resigned just five days after taking office, leaving the country in search of their third president in a week. Last week, former President Martín Vizcarra was impeached over allegations of corruption that he denies. His removal and the subsequent appointment of Merino sparked protests around the country.

Merino's resignation comes after two people died in protests against his fledgling government and lawmakers threatened to impeach him unless he stood down. "I want to make it known to the whole country that I irrevocably present my resignation for the office of the presidency and I call for peace and unity for all Peruvians," Merino said. "My commitment is with Peru and I will do everything in my power to guarantee a constitutional succession and for Congress to determine in order for Peru to move forward."

Credit: Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Congress is now seeking a replacement to lead the country toward elections in April next year. Lawmakers failed in a midnight vote to select the only name that had been put forward, Rocío Silva-Santisteban, a leftist human rights defender. They will vote again on Monday, when another name — lawmaker Francisco Sagasti, a 76-year-old industrial engineer and former World Bank official — will be on the list.

"There is a political immaturity from some and a lack of self-awareness from others in the face of what has happened in the country in the last week," legislator Alberto de Belaunde, from the centrist Morado Party, told reporters. His party is behind the nomination of Sagasti. "The main thing for Peru is to regain stability and for this nightmare to end," de Belaunde added.