Manuel Merino

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Manuel Merino
Manuel Merino de Lama (cropped).jpg
Merino in 2020
President of Peru
In office
10 November 2020 – 15 November 2020
Prime MinisterÁntero Flores Aráoz
Preceded byMartín Vizcarra
Succeeded byFrancisco Sagasti[1]
President of Congress
In office
16 March 2020 – 15 November 2020
Vice PresidentLuis Valdez Farías
Guillermo Aliaga
María Teresa Cabrera
Preceded byPedro Olaechea
Succeeded byRocío Silva Santisteban (acting)
First Vice President of Congress
In office
25 July 2011 – 26 July 2012
PresidentDaniel Abugattás
Preceded byAlejandro Aguinaga
Succeeded byMarco Falconí
Member of Congress
Assumed office
16 March 2020
In office
25 July 2011 – 26 July 2016
In office
26 July 2001 – 26 July 2006
Personal details
Manuel Arturo Merino de Lama

(1961-08-20) 20 August 1961 (age 59)
Tumbes, Peru
Political partyPopular Action
(m. 1985)
Alma materNational University of Tumbes
  • Politician
  • agronomist

Manuel Arturo Merino de Lama (born 20 August 1961)[2] is a Peruvian politician who served as the president of Peru between 10 and 15 November 2020.[3][4] He also serves as a Member of Congress (AP) representing the Tumbes constituency for the 2020–2021 term.[5] He previously served in Congress in the 2001–2006 term and 2011–2016 term. He also served as the President of Congress from 16 March 2020 to 15 November 2020.

On 9 November 2020, the Peruvian Congress impeached and removed President Martín Vizcarra from office on the controversial grounds of "moral incapacity", a vague term dating back to the 19th century.[6] The move was seen as a coup by many Peruvians,[7] political analysts[6] and media outlets in the country,[8][9][10][11][12] with Vizcarra's removal resulting with the beginning of the 2020 Peruvian protests. The following day, as the President of the Peruvian Congress, Merino became the new president of Peru following the line of succession established in the nation's constitution.[13] Upon taking office, Merino formed a far-right government with the support of Peruvian Navy admirals.[14][15][16] Five days after taking office, he resigned from the presidency.[17]

Early life and education[edit]

Manuel Arturo Merino de Lama was born on 20 August 1961 in the northern city of Tumbes. He is the son of Pedro Merino Hidalgo and Elba de Lama Barreto. In 1985, he married Mary Jacqueline Peña Carruitero, an early childhood teacher. The couple have three children, Elba Jacqueline, Sandra Lisbeth and María Teresa.[2][18]

Merino completed his elementary education at the Santa María de la Frontera School in 1973, and he finished his secondary education at the "Inmaculada Concepción" Educational Center in 1978, both in the city of Tumbes.

In 1979, he enrolled at the National University of Piura (later the National University of Tumbes) to study agronomics. He subsequently dropped out and did not complete his undergraduate studies.[19] That same year, Merino registered with the center-right political party Popular Action.[20][7] From Tumbes, he integrated into the Youth Command, later becoming an active member of the party.

Business career[edit]

In 1983, Merino was initially an agricultural producer and merchant, at the same time he dedicating himself to raising cattle, serving as a member of the Tumbes Livestock Fund (FONGAN), president of Marketing of the Association of Banana Producers, president of the Association of Traders of Bananas and Fruits in General, member of the Tumbes Agriculture Defense Committee, representative of the Agrarian Producers of Tumbes, president of the Electoral Committee of the Irrigation Commission of the Left Bank of the Tumbes River, and president of the Permanent Commission of the Agrarian Debt of Tumbes.[21]

In December 2000, Merino coordinated directly with the different agrarian organizations of the department, to obtain the cancellation of the debts contracted with the State and the refinancing of the same with the private financial entities.[22]

Political career[edit]

Congress of Peru[edit]

In 2000, he presided over the National Unity Front made up of political parties and movements. He was subsequently chosen by the Popular Action bases to run for a seat in Congress in the 2001 general election.[23][24] Merino was elected to Congress with the highest vote count in Tumbes for 2001–2006 term.[25] At the 2006 general election, Merino failed to attain reelection, as the Center Front coalition only obtained five seats nationally, mostly from Lima.[26]

In the following years, Merino took an active role in the National Executive Committee of Popular Action, which propelled him to once again run for the Congress in the 2011 general election. As part of the Possible Peru Electoral Alliance, which united Popular Action, We Are Peru, and Possible Peru, he was successfully elected for the Tumbes constituency for the 2011–2016 term.[27]

From 2011 to 2012, Merino served as First Vice President of Congress, during Daniel Abugattás congressional presidency. Likewise, from 2012 to 2013, he chaired the Housing Committee. He was also an alternate spokesperson for the Popular Action-Broad Front parliamentary caucus, and Vice President of the Amazon Congressional Caucus, from 2011 to 2013.[28]

In March 2020, an investigation into potential nepotism was initiated against Merino.[6][29] While a member of congress between 2011 and 2016, his mother and two brothers were contracted by the Peruvian government and paid $55,000 for services, which is not permitted due to his membership in congress.[6] His brother was granted another government contract one month before Merino took office in March 2020.[29] Merino denied any allegations of nepotism.[6][29]

President of Congress[edit]

In the 2020 election, Merino was elected to Congress for a third time, once again representing Tumbes to complete the 2016-2021 parliamentary term in the aftermath of the 2019 Peruvian constitutional crisis.[30] Due to being the most experienced congressman of the first parliamentary majority caucus (AP), he was elected President of Congress on 16 March 2020, with 93 votes in favor against Rocío Silva Santisteban (FA), who only obtained 14 votes.[31][32][33]

First impeachment process against Martín Vizcarra[edit]

On 11 September 2020, Congress initiated impeachment proceedings against President Martín Vizcarra, for alleged "permanent moral incapacity".[34] The determining factor for the motion to be approved was that it reach the number of necessary votes (26), which was achieved hours later.[35]

Merino faced criticism regarding how he hastily pushed for impeachment proceedings against Vizcarra.[36] If Vizcarra were to be removed from office, Merino would assume the presidential office given his position in congress and due to the absence of vice presidents for Vizcarra.[36][A] Renowned reporter Gustavo Gorriti reported on 12 September that Merino had contacted the Commanding General of the Peruvian Navy, Fernando Cerdán, notifying him that he was going to attempt to impeach Vizcarra and was seeking to assume the presidency.[37] Minister of Defense Jorge Chávez confirmed that Merino had tried to establish support with the military.[37] Subsequent reports were later released that Merino had contacted officials throughout the government while preparing to create a transitional cabinet[36][38] and that Merino had tried to communicate with the Chief of the Joint Command of the Peruvian Armed Forces, César Astudillo Salcedo, and Navy Commander, Fernando Cerdán, in order to "give them peace of mind".[39] Following the release of these reports, support for impeaching Vizcarra decreased among members of congress.[36]

President Vizcarra was summoned – upon approval of the motion – to exercise his right of defense. On 18 September, after a long session, Congress held the impeachment vote after hearing the president and his legal counsel, which was rejected with 78 votes against, 32 in favor and 15 abstentions.[40][41][42]

Second impeachment process against Martín Vizcarra[edit]

On 20 October 2020, the Union for Peru parliamentary caucus – citing as strong evidence against Vizcarra the media revelations on his tenure as Governor of Moquegua – issued a second impeachment motion, which was supported by Broad Front, Podemos Perú, two congressmen from Popular Action and an independent. In order to gain more evidence against the President, Merino and the congressional leadership agreed on delaying the debate on the motion until 2 November. The motion was subsequently approved, and Vizcarra was summoned once again to exercise his defense with the assistance of his legal counsel.[43]

On 9 November 2020, following Vizcarra's appearance before Congress, Merino initiated the final debate in order to proceed to voting on the impeachment at night.[44] The impeachment vote reached a total of 105 votes in favor, 19 against, and 2 abstentions, thus effectively removing Vizcarra from office.[45]

Due to the accepted resignation of Mercedes Aráoz as Second Vice President six months before, the constitutional succession allowed Merino to ascend to the presidency in his position of President of Congress.[46] The decision was widely dismissed by the media and the population, sparking the beginning of widespread protests throughout Peru in sign of disapproval.[47] Vizcarra ultimately accepted his removal from office, and departed from the Government Palace on the same night.[48]

President of Peru[edit]

Merino was inaugurated at 10:42 a.m. (Peru Time) on 10 November 2020, in the midst of protests across the country against his ascension to the presidency.[49][50][51][52][53] The following day, under the pressure of forming a new government, he named Ántero Flores Aráoz, a conservative politician and former Minister of Defense, as Prime Minister.[54][55][56]

During his first public pronouncements, Merino expressed support for the scheduled elections in April 2021, called for health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in Peru, and promoted law and order within the country.[7] Protests continued, however, with heavy police response to demonstrations on 14 November resulting with the deaths of protesters and the subsequent resignation of the majority of Merino's ministers.[57] On 15 November 2020, Merino stepped down as interim president, citing that he acted within the law when he was sworn into office the previous Tuesday and that he would "do everything in my power to guarantee a constitutional succession."[58][17]

Public opinion[edit]

In September 2020, Ipsos polls found that 72% of Peruvians in urban areas disapproved of Merino while 79% believed Vizcarra should finish his term.[7]


  • A ^ Peru has two Vice Presidents, a First and Second Vice President. The most recent holders of the office of First and Second Vice President were Vizcarra and Mercedes Aráoz, respectively, who were elected in the 2016 election.[59][60] Vizcarra left the office of First Vice President vacant after he succeeded Kuzcynski as president, leaving Aráoz as the sole Vice President,[59] while Aráoz resigned as Second Vice President on 1 October 2019 after the Congress of Peru named Aráoz acting president the day before after having declared Vizcarra temporarily unfit for office,[59][60][61] despite Congress having itself been dissolved earlier that day by President Vizcarra, resulting in a constitutional crisis.[59][60][61][62][63] However, her resignation was not official until it was accepted on 7 May 2020 by the new Congress of Peru sworn on 16 March 2020, since in Peru the resignation of the vice president has to be accepted by Congress and that institution was not celebrating meetings given its dissolution.[64]


  1. ^ Dube, Ryan (16 November 2020). "Peru's Congress Chooses Lawmaker Francisco Sagasti as Next President". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b "hRESEÑA HISTORICA".
  3. ^ PERÚ, NOTICIAS EL COMERCIO (9 November 2020). "Martín Vizcarra EN VIVO: Congreso de la República aprobó vacancia presidencial en contra del mandatario | Minuto a minuto | Noticias | Manuel Merino | Pleno del Congreso | Presidente del Perú | ONLINE | TV Perú | Congreso TV | | POLITICA". El Comercio Perú.
  4. ^ Kurmanaev, Anatoly; Taj, Mitra (10 November 2020). "Peru President Is Impeached by Congress" – via; Aquino, Marco (10 November 2020). "Peru plunged into political upheaval as Congress ousts President Vizcarra" – via
  5. ^ "Merino de Lama, Manuel Arturo".
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  7. ^ a b c d "Peru's swears in new leader as political turmoil hits nation". Star Tribune. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Golpe de estado editorial". La República (in Spanish). 10 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  9. ^ "Manuel Merino presentó al Gabinete de Antero Flores-Aráoz en medio de protestas NNAV |TVPE |VIDEO |VIDEOS |PAIS | VIDEOS". El Comercio (in Spanish). 12 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
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  14. ^ "Cómo derrocar un Presidente". IDL-Reporteros. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020. Spanish: Aposentado en Palacio, respaldado por una organización de ultraderecha con una larga lista de almirantes, ... Merino ha pasado su primera noche como ‘presidente’ English: Resting in the Palace, backed by a far-right organization with a long list of admirals, ... Merino has spent his first night as 'president'
  15. ^ Noriega, Carlos (12 November 2020). "Perú: la ultraderecha copó el gobierno | Bajo la presidencia de Manuel Merino tras el derrocamiento de Martín Vizcarra". Página/12. Retrieved 13 November 2020. Spanish: El gabinete ministerial del nuevo presidente Manuel Merino ... es encabezado por un miembro de la descreditada vieja guardia política, vinculado a la extrema derecha. English: The ultra-conservative right wing has taken over the Peruvian government . The ministerial cabinet of the new president Manuel Merino ... is headed by a member of the discredited political old guard, linked to the extreme right.
  16. ^ ""No sé qué les fastidia", dice el primer ministro de Perú ante las masivas protestas". EFE (in Spanish). 12 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020. Spanish: ... un Ejecutivo de "ancha base" pero que finalmente es de corte conservador, con miembros de derecha y ultraderecha. English: ... an Executive with a "broad base" but that is ultimately conservative, with members of the right and far right.
  17. ^ a b "EN VIVO | Junta de Portavoces se reúne para evaluar renuncia de Manuel Merino tras las muertes de dos jóvenes en la Marcha Nacional | Ántero Flores-Aráoz | Congreso de la República | Vacancia presidencial". RPP (in Spanish). 15 November 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  18. ^ PERÚ, NOTICIAS EL COMERCIO (10 November 2020). "Manuel Merino: ¿Quién es la primera dama Mary Peña Carruitero? | Vacancia presidencial | Presidente del Perú | Congreso de la República | | POLITICA". El Comercio Perú.
  19. ^ "Voto Informado".
  20. ^ "Infogob | Observatorio para la Gobernabilidad". Infogob.
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  38. ^ "Incháustegui confirma que allegados a Acción Popular lo contactaron para integrar gabinete de Merino [VIDEO]". La República (in Spanish). 15 September 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  39. ^ Agurto, Ego (12 September 2020). "Vacancia presidencial | Manuel Merino reconoce que llamó a oficial de las Fuerzas Armadas y dice que fue un "llamado a la calma"". RPP.
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  49. ^ "Manuel Merino juró como presidente de la República tras la vacancia de Martín Vizcarra [EN VIVO]". RPP. 10 November 2020.
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  58. ^ CNN, Stefano Pozzebon, Claudia Rebaza and Jaide Timm-Garcia. "Peru's interim president resigns after just five days". CNN. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  59. ^ a b c d "Disolución del Congreso en Perú: quién es Mercedes Aráoz, que renunció tras ser nombrada 'presidenta en funciones' por el Parlamento peruano para sustituir a Vizcarra" [Dissolution of Congress in Peru: who is Mercedes Aráoz, who resigned after being named "acting president" by the Peruvian Parliament to replace Vizcarra]. BBC Mundo (in Spanish). 2 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  60. ^ a b c "Disolución del Congreso en Perú: 4 claves para entender el enfrentamiento entre Vizcarra y el Parlamento (y lo que puede pasar ahora)" [Dissolution of Congress in Peru: 4 keys to understanding the confrontation between Vizcarra and Parliament (and what can happen now)]. BBC Mundo (in Spanish). 2 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  61. ^ a b "Disolución del Congreso de Perú: las dudas sobre la legalidad de la decisión de Vizcarra de disolver la cámara y sobre la suspensión temporal del presidente" [Dissolution of the Congress of Peru: doubts about the legality of Vizcarra's decision to dissolve the chamber and about the temporary suspension of the president]. BBC Mundo (in Spanish). 2 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  62. ^ "Disolución del Congreso en Perú: renuncia Mercedes Aráoz, nombrada "presidenta en funciones" por el Parlamento en sustitución de Vizcarra" [Dissolution of Congress in Peru: Mercedes Aráoz, appointed "acting president" by Parliament to replace Vizcarra, resigns]. BBC Mundo (in Spanish). 2 October 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  63. ^ Aráoz Fernández, Mercedes [@MecheAF] (1 October 2019). "He decidido renunciar irrevocablemente al cargo de Vicepresidenta Constitucional de la República. Las razones las explico en la carta adjunta. Espero que mi renuncia conduzca a la convocatoria de elecciones generales en el más breve plazo por el bien del país" [I have decided to irrevocably resign from the post of Constitutional Vice President of the Republic. The reasons are explained in the attached letter. I hope that my resignation will lead to the calling of general elections in the shortest possible time for the good of the country.] (Tweet) (in Spanish) – via Twitter.
  64. ^ "Congreso acepta renuncia de Mercedes Aráoz a la segunda vicepresidencia de la República" [Congress accepts the resignation of Mercedes Aráoz to the second vice-presidency of the Republic]. Gestión (in Spanish). 7 May 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2020.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Martín Vizcarra
President of Peru
Francisco Sagasti