December 22, 2017 / 7:18 AM / a year ago

Peru president vowed to free Fujimori to win support: lawmaker

Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski makes final remarks to lawmakers of the opposition-ruled Congress, in Lima, Peru December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

LIMA (Reuters) - A congresswoman in Peru said embattled President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski survived a vote in Congress to oust him by promising some opposition lawmakers that he would pardon the country’s jailed former authoritarian leader, Alberto Fujimori.

Cecilia Chacon, a lawmaker with the opposition party Popular Force, said the 10 abstentions by a faction in her party had helped defeat its bid to oust Kuczynski in the wake of a graft scandal, and that some of them had mentioned the promise. “That’s what they told us,” Chacon said in broadcast comments.

Earlier on Thursday, Kuczynski’s government denied it was negotiating a possible pardon for Fujimori in exchange for votes to save him. Kuczynski pulled off a surprise victory after the motion in Congress to oust him fell eight votes short of the 87 needed to pass.

Fujimori is serving a 25-year prison sentence for graft and human rights crimes during his 1990-2000 government.

Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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