Former president Alejandro Toledo announced Sunday that his party was leaving Peru's ruling coalition after President Ollanta Humala appointed an ex-army officer as the new prime minister.
“We do not support the militarization of the government of Humala, which was democratically elected; we have been offered to join the new cabinet but we have said, no thank you”, indicated Toledo.
However President Humala depends on support from legislators loyal to Toledo because his party lacks a majority in Peru's 130-seat single-chamber Congress.
Members of Toledo's Peru Possible party will not accept any cabinet positions but will continue supporting the president's policies in Congress, Toledo said after meeting with senior party leaders. His party held the ministries of Defence and Labour in the outgoing 17 member cabinet.
On Saturday, Humala accepted the resignation of millionaire businessman Salomon Lerner as prime minister and replaced him with the interior minister, Oscar Valdes, a former army officer.
Lerner's departure came after Humala declared a state of emergency in Cajamarca department, in northern Peru, in an attempt to quell widespread opposition to a new 4.8 billion dollars gold and copper mine that opponents say will cause major social and environmental disruption.
Valdes was instrumental in the declaration of that state of emergency. The resignation automatically triggered the resignation of the entire cabinet, according to Peruvian law.
The so-called Conga mining project in Cajamarca is a plan by US company Newmont along with a Peruvian partner to extract seven million ounces of gold and 400 million pounds of copper by 2017 from the area.
Analysts see the appointment of Valdes as a sign that Humala is ready to take a hard-line against all protesters, including those in Cajamarca, further signalling his pragmatic side, ever more distant from his electoral left-wing populist.
Ex-PM Salomon felt that he did not have support to resolve the Conga controversy through dialogue, said legislator Javier Diez Canseco with Humala’s party.
Toledo, president 2001-2006, is considered one of the architects of Peru's current economic model, which has brought high growth but also tremendous income and social disparity.