Peru President Hit by Rolex Scandal Seeks Support From Reviled Congress

(Bloomberg) -- Peru’s unpopular president is likely to receive the backing of the equally-disliked congress in a vote on Wednesday, as both sides defy the public clamor for them to quit.

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Lawmakers are widely forecast to greenlight President Dina Boluarte’s new cabinet, looking past the so-called Rolex scandal that has roiled her government in recent weeks.

That support should help consolidate an alliance that has allowed all sides to stay in office with approval ratings that are among the lowest of any political class on the planet. One recent poll found that the president and the legislature both have approval ratings of 9%, and that most Peruvians want them to resign and call new elections.

An investigation into Boluarte for illegal enrichment was triggered when a local newspaper questioned how she had paid for at least 14 luxury watches that she had been seen wearing. Peru is notorious for ousting its leaders, having cycled through six presidents since 2016, yet Bolourte surprised many with her staying power.

Read More: A $15,000 Rolex Threatens to Worsen Peru Leader’s 9% Job Rating

“In the immediate term, right-leaning parties in congress will want to block any revival of public pressure to bring forward elections even if it means continuing to support the hapless Boluarte,” wrote political consultancy Teneo in a note. “The new-look cabinet should therefore pass the investiture vote.”

A “no” vote would force Boluarte to submit another cabinet and, if that were also rejected, she could shut congress and call new legislative elections.

Boluarte has denied any wrongdoing but failed to explain how she could afford jewelry including a $15,000 Rolex and a $50,000 Cartier bracelet on her monthly salary of about $4,300. Last week, police raided her private residence, and also searched the presidential palace for luxury items and evidence about how she came to acquire them.

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