President Vizcarra admits to “mistake” of meeting secretly with Keiko Fujimori

The president and the opposition leader had two separate undisclosed meetings

martin vizcarra (Courtesy of Presidencia Peru)

President Martín Vizcarra said Monday that he regrets having taken undisclosed meetings with Popular Force party leader Keiko Fujimori. In those meetings, the opposition leader said she wanted to know first of any executive decisions or regulations that Vizcarra’s government was going to take, according to the president.

“The two meetings took place within a confidentiality framework,” Vizcarra told Peru’s America TV news channel. “She proposed the confidentiality framework, and we agreed to do so.

“However, I admit this was a mistake,” he added.

Vizcarra said the secret meetings took place in April and June of this year and were coordinated by his prime minister, César Villanueva.

Vizcarra told the television news channel Monday that Fujimori had previously requested a third meeting behind closed doors but that he denied. He said he denied Fujimori’s request that she be alerted first to any decisions from his cabinet.

“In some way, the request was an effort to limit the capacity of the executive branch’s power,” Vizcarra said.

The president, who has run his political platform largely on the idea that Peru needs to clean up shady political dealings and corruptive practices, said nothing out of the ordinary was discussed at the meetings with Fujimori.

“The first meeting was a formal event,” Vizcarra told America TV. “It was more like a gesture of greeting and to extend good wishes. In the second one, we presented our request for legislative powers, rejected the ‘gag rule,’ and discussed the passing of healthy diet rules.”

He added that Fujimori was in disagreement with regulations that would ensure healthy diets among Peruvians. Per his claim, Fujimori wanted the president to fire his current health minister, Silvia Pessah, saying she wasn’t competent.

A new poll released on Monday showed that Vizcarra’s approval rating was trending upwards for the first time in months as he is on the good side of 43 percent of Peruvians, up dramatically from his 27 percent approval rating in July, per the numbers from the Gfk poll.

After taking office earlier this year from Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the former vice president has been confronted with a widescale judicial corruption scandal that has seeped into numerous parts of Peruvian politics. Vizcarra has created a reform council to investigate any offenses in the country’s judiciary and to suggest wide-sweeping changes from a system that seems to have run largely on kickbacks and under-the-table handshakes.

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