MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, September 23rd 2023 - 08:09 UTC



Peruvian president makes yet another cabinet reshuffle

Thursday, February 10th 2022 - 09:16 UTC
Full article
“Castillo has appointed ministers he seems never to have seen in his life [...]. Perhaps he fired someone without ever knowing him,” a Lima columnist wrote  “Castillo has appointed ministers he seems never to have seen in his life [...]. Perhaps he fired someone without ever knowing him,” a Lima columnist wrote

Peru's President Pedro Castillo Terrones has sworn in his fourth cabinet in barely over six months after taking office. A week ago, he had appointed his third cabinet after the resignation of Prime Minister Mirtha Vásquez.

Law scholar Aníbal Torres, aged 79, has become the country's new Prime Minister after replacing Héctor Valer who lasted three days in office. Torres had been serving as Justice Minister ever since Castillo came to power on July 28, last year.

Castillo has been under constant attacks from Conservative politicians who have already tried a motion of censure against him in December but failed to get it through Congress. Nevertheless, new attempts in this regard are always being concocted, according to media reports.

Valer could not survive public disgrace after news outlets revealed his wife and daughter had accused him of domestic violence back in 2016. Surviving ministers from the third cabinet, Foreign Affairs' César Landa and Foreign Trade Roberto Sánchez had also requested Valer's departure. Finance Minister Oscar Graham also made it through the reshuffle.

Torres now has 30 days to get a vote of confidence from Congress for the new cabinet, which includes three women. If Parliament, controlled by the right-wing opposition, denies him confidence, Torres must resign and Castillo form a fifth cabinet.

The now former Justice Minister had stirred up the waters by denouncing that former President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) was serving his 25-year sentence for human rights violations in a “golden prison” and should be transferred to a regular detention facility (which has not been done yet).

Former presidential candidate keiko Fujimori, daughter of the disgraced head of state, had said Torres' idea was “cruel and malicious.”

After naming the third cabinet, Castillo has been under heavy criticism. Political analysts have pointed out the head of state's constant changes caused great anxiety, because people fear what may happen next.

Since 2017, Peru has been experiencing recurrent episodes of instability after political leaders began promoting “vacancy” motions in Congress to abruptly get rid of presidents. The country had three presidents in five days in November 2020 and 31 Prime Ministers since 2002.

The position of “president of the Council of Ministers” (prime minister or Cabinet Chief), was created in 1856 in Peru. It gives a lot of power and prestige, but it is very volatile. In 2020 one of them lasted 20 days and another just four days, one more than Valer. The prime minister is number two in the Executive, because the vice president has no responsibilities or salary while the president is in office. Current Vice President Dina Boluarte serves as Minister of Social Development, a position in which she was ratified this Tuesday.

A Lima columnist has written that “Castillo has appointed ministers he seems never to have seen in his life [...]. Perhaps he fired someone without ever knowing him.“

Castillo's new Health Minister -Hernán Condori- has also sparked controvery for having prescribed unendorsed products. He is also under investigation for alleged corruption. He replaced Hernando Cevallos, whose role at the helm of the anti COVID-19 campaign had been unanimously praised.

In the end, the fourth cabinet has done little to nothing to avert the possibility of a new motion of censure, which is always around the corner, accoprding to political analysts.

Congressman Carlos Anderson, a spokesman for the right-wing party Podemos Peru, said Torres' appointment was a ”suicide in the Palace.”

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!