Peru’s Congress confirms new moderate left Cabinet

Pedro Castillo, president of Peru, arrives for the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S.

Peru’s Congress on Thursday confirmed a new moderate left Cabinet, three months into the administration of President Pedro Castillo, who’s first lineup of ministers crumbled amid political uncertainty and nationalization threats.

The new Cabinet is headed by Mirth Vasquez, a moderate left politician and former head of Congress who does not belong to Castillo’s party, the Marxist-Leninist Peru Libre.

The vote was 68-56, with one lawmaker abstaining.

The reshuffle is widely seen as more moderate than Socialist Castillo’s original lineup, under which Peru’s currency tumbled to record lows. But the move has also alienated some of Castillo’s most left-wing allies.

Several members of Peru Libre voted to reject the new Cabinet, including Castillo’s original prime minister Guido Bellido, a longtime Peru Libre member.

Earlier in the day, Castillo swore in a new interior minister in charge of public safety. The new interior minister, Avelino Guillen, is a former prosecutor known for having successfully prosecuted former President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a prison sentence for human rights violations.

Guillen replaced Luis Barranzuela, a Peru Libre loyalist who resigned after media reports that he hosted a party on Halloween while the government had banned social gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic. Barranzuela denied it was a party and said it was a work meeting.

Peru, the world’s No. 2 copper producer, is facing a spate of social unrest against the mining sector, which most recently triggered the suspension of production at the country’s largest copper mine, Antamina, on Sunday. Antamina is jointly owned by Glencore (GLEN.L) and BHP Billiton

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