Peru's leader names new prime minister as he reforms Cabinet

AP News
Posted: Sep 17, 2017 8:50 PM
Peru's leader names new prime minister as he reforms Cabinet

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski appointed a former economy minister as his new prime minister Sunday, two days after a no-confidence vote by the opposition-led congress forced the entire Cabinet to resign.

Mercedes Araoz, who is also a lawmaker and one of Peru's two vice presidents, is the new chief minister in a reconstituted Cabinet. She served as economy minister during part of the 2006-11 administration of President Alan Garcia.

Araoz replaced Fernando Zavala, who lost Friday's vote of confidence by lawmakers. The single-house congress is led by the opposition party of Keiko Fujimori, who is the daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori and loser of a close 2016 presidential runoff election to Kuczynski.

All 19 ministers in the previous Cabinet were forced to resign under Peru's constitution because of the no-confidence vote. Kuczynski reappointed six of the 19 ministers in the previous Cabinet.

The upheaval forced the president to cancel a trip to participate in this week's meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. Kuczynski was to have met with U.S. President Donald Trump, along with the presidents of Brazil and Colombia, during the trip to New York.

The no-confidence vote followed a heated debate in which lawmakers insulted Zavala and called for Peru's education minister to resign over her handling of a 60-day strike by teachers.

Kuczynski rejected that demand and asked for the vote of confidence in his entire Cabinet, which he lost by a wide margin. It was the first time under Peru's 1993 constitution that the legislature has taken such a step.