Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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LATIN AMERICA | 06-10-2021 21:10

Peru president announces PM will step down, triggering resignation of Cabinet

President Pedro Castillo announced on October 6 the resignation of his prime minister and his entire cabinet, two months after taking office, in a surprise message to Peru broadcast on state television.

Peru's President Pedro Castillo announced on Wednesday the resignation of his prime mnister after just two months in office, a move that triggered the resignation of his entire Cabinet.

"Today I inform the country that we have accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Guido Bellido Ugarte, whom we thank for his services rendered," said Castillo in a surprise message carried on state television.

Under Peruvian law, the prime minister's resignation automatically triggers that of the entire Cabinet.

Castillo gave no reasons for the move but said a new prime minister and cabinet – which could be the same as the old one – would be announced later in the evening.

Bellido's resignation letter said he was doing so at Castillo's "request."

The president, who used to be a rural school teacher, called for "unity" from Peru's economic, political and social sectors to "achieve common objectives" such as reactivating the economy.

Castillo's July appointment of electronic engineer Bellido, a political novice, was controversial from the start.

Peruvian media outlets claim Bellido, 41, was investigated by prosecutors for an alleged "apology for terrorism" over statements made shortly after taking up his seat in Congress in June.

In statements to the Inka Vision online news outlet, he appeared to defend people who supported the Shining Path Maoist guerrilla group that fought the state from 1980 to 2000 and is designated a terrorist organisation by Lima.

In August, left-wing Castillo seemed to have staved off a political crisis when the right-wing dominated Congress approved his Cabinet following a bitter debate.

Until then, Peru had been in a state of political uncertainty since the beginning of the year, when the electoral campaign got under way.

The country has suffered years of political upheaval and a series of corruption scandals saw three different presidents in office in a single week last November.

Seven of the country's previous 10 leaders have either been convicted or are under investigation for graft.

And Castillo's victory over right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori in June's second round presidential run-off took six weeks to be confirmed after delays in validating the results.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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