After Peru’s Congress officially accepted former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s resignation Friday, the red and white sash was put over Vice President Martín Vizcarra as he was named the 67th President in Peruvian history in a swearing-in ceremony at Peru’s Legislative Palace.
In addition to his previous post as second-in-command, the 55-year-old former engineer Vizcarra was previously Peru’s ambassador to Canada. He will be assuming the presidency until 2021 after taking over for Kuczynski.
“We have a responsibility to serve everyone in this country,” Vizcarra said when he arrived back in Peru on the eve of his official welcoming ceremony. “With faith and optimism, Peru can always march forward.”
Accompanied by the Second Vice President Mercedes Aráoz, Vizcarra was sworn in around 1 p.m. Peru time by Congressional President Luis Galarreta.
Once sworn in, Vizcarra gave his first message to the nation as president where he addressed the current political turmoil confronting the country.
“I want to tell you in this difficult time for our country, that with hope and faith we can construct a better future,” he said.
Vizcarra also acknowledged the constant battles his party has had with the opposition parties, most notably the Popular Force party headed by Keiko Fujimori.
“We cannot allow the country to stay entangled in these fights that cause so much damage,” he said.
Vizcarra also announced that he plans on a complete upheaval of his cabinet.
He added that his administration will focus on fighting political corruption in all facets of Peruvian society. At one point, he offered up a social pact so that political parties could come together to root out and denounce corruption at every level.
He asked the young people of Peru to not lose faith and for them to understand that the country has overcome great challenges before in its history.
Vizcarra and Peru will almost immediately have the eyes of the world on them when they host the Summit of the Americas beginning April 13. President of the United States Donald Trump is planning on attending the regional conference and Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro said he will attend despite the Peruvian government saying he is unwelcome.
Earlier Friday, there was some question as to whether the ceremony would be delayed when Kuczynski said he was withdrawing his resignation because lawmakers were reportedly weighing the idea of calling him a “traitor to the people” in their decision.