Peru’s Congress postpones Cabinet confirmation vote to next week

President Pedro Castillo of Peru shakes hands with Mirtha Vasquez after her swearing-in as the country's new prime minister, in Lima, Peru

Peru’s opposition-led Congress pushed back a confirmation vote on the country’s new Cabinet until next Thursday, in order to mourn the death of a lawmaker who suddenly died on Monday.

Lawmaker Fernando Herrera Mamani, who belonged to the official Free Peru party, died of a heart condition, Congress said.

The delay caused by Herrera Mamani’s death will prolong the uncertainty over the fate of the new Cabinet, the second to be nominated by Socialist President Pedro Castillo in less than three months in office.

Prime Minister Mirtha Vasquez, a moderate leftist, told Congress earlier in the day she was seeking a new “governability pact,” in a speech that lacked significant new proposals.

She said the administration would support private investment and submit a tax reform proposal meant to fund social programs. Peru is the world’s No. 2 copper producer, and the mining sector is a key source of tax revenue.

Castillo asked Guido Bellido to resign as prime minister on Oct. 6 following a period of political instability. Bellido had threatened to nationalize Peru’s gas sector, with the sol currency falling to record lows during his tenure. The sol bounced back following Vasquez’s appointment the same day.

Despite Vasquez’s more moderate stances, Castillo urged Congress on Monday to introduce a bill to nationalize the gas sector, doubling down on the controversial proposal.

Under Peruvian law, Congress must confirm or reject a new Cabinet in the weeks following its nomination.

The result of the Cabinet vote remains unclear. Castillo has strained ties with the Marxist-Leninist Free Peru party that helped him to power, with some lawmakers saying they will vote to reject the new Cabinet.

Vasquez is a former head of Congress, but does not belong to the Free Peru party.

Bellido, a senior Free Peru member, was confirmed in August by Congress in a 73-50 vote.

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