April 15, 2018 / 11:41 PM / a year ago

Peru's Vizcarra begins presidency with 57 pct approval rating

Peru's President Martin Vizcarra speaks at a press conference at the end of the VIII Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru April 14, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra kicked off his presidency with a 57-percent approval rating, according to an Ipsos poll published in a local newspaper on Sunday.

A former vice president, Vizcarra took office on March 23 after his predecessor, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, resigned in a graft and vote-buying scandal.

The Ipsos survey, published in El Comercio, showed 13 percent of Peruvians polled disapproved of Vizcarra. But 30 percent declined to answer — a sign many were still undecided about him.

Most Peruvians could not name Vizcarra two weeks before he was thrust into office in Peru’s worst political crisis in nearly two decades. A civil engineer by training, Vizcarra had been doubling as vice president and Peru’s ambassador to Canada.

Vizcarra has risen to power amid high frustration with elected officials following a graft scandal involving the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht that has tainted most of the political class.

He must govern Peru, the world’s No. 2 copper producer, with the opposition-controlled Congress through 2021.

The poll of 1,289 people was taken on April 10-12 and had a 2.7 percentage point margin of error.

Kuczynski, a former Wall Street banker, also took office with the support of a majority of Peruvians, but ended his term with a 19-percent approval rating.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Sandra Maler

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