Peru’s Boluarte to Reshuffle Cabinet Ahead of Election Debate

Boluarte will announce the appointment of a new prime minister and other members of her cabinet on Monday or Tuesday, she said in an interview

Peru's president, Dina Boluarte
By Fabiola Zerpa
December 19, 2022 | 10:04 AM

Bloomberg — Peru President Dina Boluarte removed Prime Minister Pedro Angulo and other officials on Sunday as Congress proceeds with another attempt this week to approve early elections to calm protesters and alleviate the country’s political crisis.

Boluarte will announce the appointment of a new prime minister and other members of her cabinet on Monday or Tuesday, she said in an interview with TV program Cuarto Poder. Boluarte said the cabinet reshuffle is aimed at building a “political team” to help with dialog in the country and new elections can’t be held “without new political reforms.”

The decision could add to the political upheaval ahead of a Congress debate on Tuesday over whether to hold early elections as a way to address the political crisis sparked by President Pedro Castillo’s impeachment.

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Angulo’s removal comes just over a week after the former prosecutor was appointed as the country’s sixth prime minister since Castillo took office less than 18 months ago. Boluarte has been trying to seek allies in congress and establish her authority as her predecessor’s supporters protest against his removal and demand elections as soon as possible.

The violent protests sweeping the country have led to road blockades, disruptions to key infrastructure and the death of 24 people. Authorities have been deployed to reestablish mobility and reopen some airports.

Demonstrators block Avenida Las Flores during protests in Trujillo, Peru, on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022.dfd

The airport in Juliaca, in southern Peru, will resume operations from Monday while the airport in the south-central city of Ayacucho could resume operations Tuesday, Transport Minister Paola Lazarte said Sunday in tweet from the ministry. Work is ongoing to resume flights at a third airport in Arequipa, also in the south, as “soon as possible.”

Staying ‘Firm’

Operations at the airport in the ancient city of Cuzco have returned to normal after police and armed forces helped to retake the facility, the transportation ministry said on Sunday.

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Protests continued in Peru on Sunday, a day after Boluarte ruled out resigning and reiterated calls to bring forward elections. Unrest has swept the country since Castillo, whose five-year term was scheduled to end in 2026, was impeached by legislators on Dec. 7.

“We are going to be firm here until congress approves the early elections,” Boluarte said Saturday during a press conference with members of her cabinet and the armed forces.

Congress on Friday voted against an attempt to bring forward the elections to 2023. Hours later, the president of congress Jose Williams announced legislators will reconsider the proposal. Congress said on Twitter that it will resume the legislative session at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Boluarte, Castillo’s vice president who was sworn in by congress after his ousting, first called for elections to be brought forward two years to 2024 and then backed an even-speedier timeline as the crisis escalated.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on “Peru’s institutions and civil authorities to redouble their efforts to make needed reforms and safeguard democratic stability,” according to details of a phone call with Boluarte released on Sunday. He stressed the need for dialogue to ease divisions.

Meanwhile, a human rights delegation from the Organization of American States announced a visit to Peru on Dec. 20 to push “dialogue channels.”

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