Peru’s interim president appointed veteran economist Waldo Mendoza as his finance minister in a bid to shore up investor confidence shaken by political turmoil. Interim President Francisco Sagasti swore in most of his 19-member ministerial team on Wednesday after becoming the country’s third leader in little more than a week.
Mendoza, a former deputy finance minister and central bank board member, was previously the head of the public finance commission in Lima. He’s the country’s ninth finance minister in less than five years.
Mendoza will be tasked with allaying investor concern about deterioration in public finances amid a deep recession, and pressure from congress to increase spending despite a soaring budget deficit.
“Waldo is a good choice,” said Alonso Segura, a former finance minister who teaches at the same university as Mendoza. “He has a conciliatory personality and he’s very didactic, which should serve him well in his relationship with the rest of the executive and congress.”
Sagasti, a 76 year-old former head of strategic planning at the World Bank, assumed the presidency Tuesday pledging to defend fiscal and economic stability. Among his other cabinet picks were Pilar Mazzetti, who was health minister under Vizcarra, and Nuria Esparch to become Peru’s first woman defense minister. Constitutional lawyer Violeta Bermudez will lead the team as cabinet chief.
One of the finance minister’s top tasks will be defending legislation before a congress that last week ousted Vizcarra, despite his high approval ratings. The former leader regularly clashed with the legislative body over his anti-corruption campaign and lawmaker proposals for pension fund withdrawals, which are of concern to investors.