Peru President picks new Cabinet to ease protests, market fears

Peru's selected interim leader Francisco Sagasti attends his swearing-in ceremony, in Lima, Peru

Peru’s new President Francisco Sagasti unveiled his cabinet on Wednesday, appointing a constitutional lawyer to be prime minister as the government seeks to tamp down angry protests that have rocked the country’s political class.

The new government was formed a day after liberal centrist Sagasti was sworn into office after a tumultuous week that saw the departure of two presidents and marches in the street that were marred by the deaths of two young protesters.

Sagasti appointed Violeta Bermúdez, a legal expert on vulnerable populations and gender politics, to head the cabinet of 18 ministers, with Waldo Mendoza, an economist with a background in tax oversight, to oversee the economy portfolio.

The appointment of Sagasti, after his conservative predecessor Manuel Merino resigned on Sunday, has helped calm protests and ease jittery markets.

Peru, the world’s second largest producer of copper, is headed for its worst economic contraction in a century after being hit by one of the world’s deadliest per capita outbreaks of COVID-19. There are new elections planned for April 2021.

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