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Peru's president survives impeachment vote

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Peru's president survives impeachment vote

Peru's president survives impeachment vote
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Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has pulled off a surprise victory against the opposition's bid to force him from power as a graft scandal rocks Latin America.

A motion to impeach him in Congress fell eight votes short of the 87 needed to oust him.

Before hours of debate in Congress, Kuczynski called on lawmakers to set aside his faults and help defend Peru's democracy from what he deemed a hasty "coup" attempt staged by the right-wing opposition Popular Force party.

Popular Force, which emerged under an authoritarian movement in the 1990s, sought to remove Kuczynski from office on grounds he was "morally unfit" to govern after discovering his past

business connections to a company at the centre of the region's biggest graft scandal.

Kuczynski has been accused of receiving kickbacks from the giant Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

The company has also been implicated in corruption scandals across Latin America, including in Brazil, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

The vote was widely unexpected just a few days ago and came after a week of intense political uncertainty in Peru - the world's second-biggest copper producer and one of Latin America's most stable and robust economies.

After the vote, a congresswoman said Kuczynski survived the vote by promising some opposition lawmakers that he would pardon jailed former authoritarian leader, Alberto Fujimori.

Cecilia Chacon, a lawmaker with Popular Force, said the 10 abstentions by a faction in her party had helped defeat its bid to oust Kuczynski, and that some of them had mentioned the promise.

"That's what they told us," Chacon said in broadcast comments.

Earlier on Thursday, Kuczynski's government denied it was negotiating a possible pardon for Fujimori in exchange for votes to save him.

Fujimori is serving a 25-year prison sentence for graft and human rights crimes during his 1990-2000 government.