Support for Peru's president surges after battle with Congress

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra talks during a ceremony to announce a referendum on judicial and political reforms in Lima, Peru October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra’s approval rating shot up 16 points to a high of 61 percent in October, after he adopted a harder line with the opposition-run Congress, a monthly Ipsos poll showed on Sunday.

The public opinion survey, published in local newspaper El Comercio, was taken on Oct. 10-12, after Vizcarra threatened to dissolve Congress unless it passed his proposals for fighting entrenched graft in one of Latin America’s most stable economies.

Congress, where the unpopular conservative party Popular Force has a majority, approved the legislation last week.

Vizcarra took office in March to replace former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who resigned in a graft scandal on the eve of his near-certain impeachment.

Little known in Peru when he was sworn in, Vizcarra has built support by responding to widespread anger at back-to-back graft scandals in Peru with a proposed overhaul of the country’s judicial and political systems.

The Ipsos survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.77 percentage points.

Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Sandra Maler