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LATIN AMERICA | 09-02-2022 17:00

Peru President Pedro Castillo swears in new cabinet – his fourth in six months

Peru's leftist President Pedro Castillo on Tuesday appointed a new cabinet, the fourth since he came to power six months ago, including replacing a prime minister who lasted just three days in office. 

Peru's leftist President Pedro Castillo on Tuesday appointed a new Cabinet, the fourth since he came to power six months ago, including replacing a prime minister who lasted just three days in office. 

"Yes, I swear," Aníbal Torres, a lawyer taking over the role of prime minister, declared as he was sworn in by Castillo in a brief ceremony at the government palace in Lima. 

Torres, 79, has been the head of the Justice Ministry since the current government took power in July. 

Castillo's six months in office have been characterised by setbacks and internal struggles within the government, as well as attacks from the radical right, which launched a failed attempt to impeach him. 

A week ago, Castillo appointed his third cabinet after the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Mirtha Vásquez due to disagreements over promotions in the police force. 

In his place, the president appointed lawyer and parliamentarian Héctor Valer Pinto, who was left in the hot seat after Lima media reported that his wife and university-educated daughter had denounced him in 2016 for alleged domestic violence. 

Three days later, Castillo announced that he was going to "reshuffle" the cabinet again, marking the departure of the questioned Valer.

He was widely criticised for appointing Valer and for taking so long to put together a new cabinet after removing him from office. 

"Castillo seems lost in a labyrinth and the question is where he is going to get out of it. That's why Peruvians are living in great anxiety, because they don't know what's going to happen," political analyst and former ambassador Hugo Otero told AFP. 

But for political analyst Eduardo Ballon, Castillo's woes are simply "the continuation of a long-standing crisis" in the political system, as he told the daily La República.

Since 2017, Peru has experienced recurring bouts of instability after political leaders began pushing "vacancy" motions in Congress to abruptly get rid of presidents.  This led the country to have three presidents in five days in November 2020. 

Torres now has 30 days to get a vote of confidence from Congress for the new cabinet. 

If the right-wing opposition-controlled parliament denies him, Torres must resign and Castillo must form a fifth cabinet.

– TIMES/AFP

by Luis Jaime Cisneros & Francisco Jara, AFP

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