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The BBC's James Reynolds, in Lima
"There has been an angry reaction to President Fujimori's resignation from his cabinet"
 real 56k

Monday, 20 November, 2000, 21:08 GMT
Peru's Fujimori resigns
Police guard presidential palace
Guarding the presidential palace - but who will the new occupant be?
Peru's embattled President Alberto Fujimori has formally resigned after a decade in power, Congress speaker Valentin Paniagua said on Monday.

Mr Fujimori has been in Japan since Friday
Mr Paniagua told a news conference in Lima that the president, who was last seen in Japan, had submitted his resignation in a letter to him.

He said he would make its contents known on Tuesday and said that a debate on the presidential succession would be held then.

On Sunday, President Fujimori - embroiled in a corruption row - announced from Tokyo that he would leave office within 48 hours, sparking uncertainty about who would succeed him.

I submit to you, Mr President of Congress, my formal resignation as president of the republic

Alberto Fujimori
The ruling party, Peru 2000, says that the second Vice-President, Ricardo Marquez, should lead the country until 28 July, when the winner of elections due to be held in April takes office.

But the opposition objects: it wants Mr Paniagua to take over instead - and Mr Paniagua himself has not ruled this out.

Peru's main opposition leader, Alejandro Toledo - who has cut short a visit to Spain to return to Peru - has suggested a third option, namely that the country be led by an interim council of eminent figures.

Possible successors
First vice-president - but he has resigned
Second vice-president - but the opposition objects
Speaker of Congress - proposed by opposition
Interim council - proposed by Alejandro Toledo
Under Peru's consititution, the first vice-president should take over - but he resigned last month after a disagreement with Mr Fujimori.

The United States has now stepped into the debate.

A delegation from the US State Department arrived here on Sunday night and has been holding a series of talks with government and opposition leaders.

Fujimori's future uncertain

It is not known when - or whether - Mr Fujimori himself will return to Peru from Japan, his country of descent.

Fujimori downfall file
May 2000: Re-elected third term amid vote-rigging claims
14 Sept: Montesinos scandal breaks
16 Sept: Fujimori announces new elections
23 Oct: Montesinos returns from exile
16 Nov: Opposition takes control of Congress
17 Nov: Fujimori arrives Japan
20 Nov: Fujimori resigns
According to Sunday's statement, he decided to step down after the opposition gained control of Congress last week for the first time in eight years.

But the president has been beset by rumours that he is seeking political asylum since he left the country last week.

Political and financial scandals have been swirling around him ever since his shadowy former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, was caught on film trying to bribe an opposition politician two months ago.

As a result, Mr Fujimori said he would quit four years early, and called the April elections.

All parties have called for President Fujimori to return to Lima and face up to the consequences of his decision.

'Moral incapacity'

Mr Fujimori's own ministers have been among the most outspoken in this respect, saying they feel betrayed by the president's announcement.

Second Vice-President Ricardo Marquez
Marquez: The oppostion don't want him to head transition
On Sunday the whole cabinet resigned in protest, but it said it would stay on until Mr Marquez formed a new cabinet.

Legislators, however, are expected to demand that Mr Marquez step down.

Opposition lawmakers also say they will not accept Mr Fujimori's resignation and that instead they will declare the presidency vacant due to Mr Fujimori's "moral incapacity".

Despite fears in recent weeks of a possible military coup instigated by Mr Montesinos, the Peruvian military has sworn to abide by the constitution, and to respect any political changes made after Mr Fujimori's departure.

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See also:

20 Nov 00 | Media reports
Peru press turns on Fujimori
18 Nov 00 | Americas
Montesinos accused of new crimes
14 Nov 00 | Americas
Pressure piled on Fujimori
27 Sep 00 | Americas
Peru halts spy investigation
20 Nov 00 | Americas
Fujimori: Decline and fall
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