Peru's Presidential Palace, Peru's interim president Manuel Merino announces his resignation via a televised address from the Presidential Palace in Lima, Peru. Image Credit: AP

Facing widespread opposition, Peru's interim president stepped down on Sunday, his sixth day on the job, plunging a country already facing an economic tailspin and a devastating pandemic into a constitutional crisis.

The interim president, Manuel Merino, had taken power on Tuesday after legislators shocked the nation by voting to remove the popular incumbent, Martin Vizcarra, and then swearing in Merino, who was the head of Congress.

By giving up the presidency, Merino opened up a power vacuum and left Peruvians bracing for the prospect of living under a fifth president in five years, certain only that there is more turbulence to come.

"The resignation of Merino is just the beginning of the end of the political crisis," said Denisse Rodriguez-Olivari, a Peruvian political scientist at Humboldt University of Berlin. "There are still profound problems in the way the country is governed."

From his first moments in office, Merino faced opposition from Peruvians who took to the streets in protest and from prominent political and social leaders, many of whom said they did not recognize him as the country's leader.

On Sunday, after most of his Cabinet resigned and his last political allies abandoned him, the Congress that had put him in power called on him to step down, and Merino took heed.

"I present my irrevocable resignation," he said in a video address to the nation. "I call for peace and unity of all Peruvians."

Merino said he would now focus on ensuring a smooth transition to a new leader, and the Congress announced that it would appoint a new president from among the lawmakers later Sunday.

It was unclear, however, if Peruvians would accept Congress' pick as their leader and end the daily protests rocking the nation. Whoever takes power now, Rodriguez-Olivari said, will need to pay close attention to the people's demands to win legitimacy.

Vizcarra, the former president, added to the transition uncertainty Sunday evening by claiming the Congress was too discredited to select Merino's replacement. He urged the nation's top court to weigh in on the legality of his removal - a move that he could potentially use to stage a political comeback.