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The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

The content originally appeared on: Latin America News – Aljazeera

Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otarola has resigned following the release of audio recordings that allegedly featured him using his influence to help his love interest get government contracts.

Otarola tendered his resignation on Tuesday after television programme Panorama broadcast the recordings over the weekend.

Announcing his resignation, Otarola told reporters in Lima he had been framed by political opponents. He claimed his rivals had manipulated and edited the recordings, which he said were made before he entered office in 2022.

However, Otarola said on X that he was resigning “to give peace of mind to the president and recompose the cabinet”.

In the audio recordings, Otarola, 57, appears to be speaking to Yazire Pinedo. The 25-year-old woman landed contracts worth $14,000 this year to do archive and administrative work for the government.

In one of the recordings, he allegedly tells her: “Tell me, then, my love, so we can talk. You know these things are annoying, they are a pain, but you also know that I love you.”

Ordered home from Canada by President Dina Boluarte after the scandal erupted over the weekend, Otarola has denied any violation of Peruvian labour laws or other wrongdoing.

“I understand the gravity of the political circumstances, but I repeat that I did not do anything illegal,” he said on Monday on X.

Pinedo said on Tuesday that the leaked conversations with Otarola, who is married and has five children, were from 2021. She acknowledged having had a brief “perhaps sentimental relationship” with him.

The president’s office said in a statement that it would hear Otarola out before deciding what to do. Prosecutors said they will investigate him for possible conflict of interest and “illegal sponsorship”.

With Otarola’s departure, the other 18 members of the cabinet must also resign, according to Peruvian law. The president can choose to reinstate each of them.

Boluarte, 61, came to power in 2022 after then-President Pedro Castillo, a left-wing leader, tried to dissolve Congress and rule by decree, leading to his quick removal and arrest.

Violent protests followed in several cities to demand Boluarte step down and for elections to be held.

A woman gestures as demonstrators call for an indefinite nationwide strike during a march against the government of President Boluarte in Lima, on February 9, 2023 [Alessandro Cinque/Reuters]

About 50 people were killed in the ensuing crackdown by security forces, according to an estimate by Human Rights Watch, which accused the authorities of extrajudicial and arbitrary killings.

Multiple legal proceedings were launched after the crackdown to investigate if Boluarte bears any responsibility for the deaths.