As Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski scrambled to survive a bid in Congress to oust him in the wake of a graft scandal, his jailed authoritarian predecessor, Alberto Fujimori, called on his loyalists in Congress to save the head of state.

The day before the Dec. 20 vote and during hours of debating, Fujimori received prison visits or spoke on the phone with at least seven of the 10 lawmakers who broke party ranks to keep Kuczynski in office, according to prison records and interviews with two of the lawmakers last week.

Legislator Maritza Garcia said it was Fujimori's gentle warning that toppling the president would destabilize the economy that cemented her decision. Bienvenido Ramirez said Fujimori encouraged him to cast a vote of conscience.