Peru president dissolves congress and calls for elections

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Martín Vizcarra’s moves prompt his own vice-president to declare herself leader

Gideon Long in Bogotá

The president of Peru has ordered the dissolution of congress and called for parliamentary elections, but in a stunning challenge to his rule his own vice-president declared the move “illegal” and “unconstitutional” and had herself sworn in as temporary leader.

In a day of high drama in the congress building in Lima and on the streets outside where thousands of people gathered to protest, Martín Vizcarra said he had made the decision because Congress had constantly blocked his attempts to pass anti-corruption legislation.

“This exceptional measure will finally allow our citizens to give their opinion and determine at the ballot box . . . the future of our country,” the president said in a televised address.