Peru with a new government: a very conservative cabinet, without weighty figures and repudiated in the streets

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President Manuel Merino swore in the members of the Council of Ministers, which will be headed by Antero Flores-Aráoz, a controversial leader of the old guard.

The President of Peru, Manuel Merino, took an oath to the members of the Council of Ministers which will be headed by Antero Flores-Aráoz, three days after assuming the presidency of the country after the removal of his predecessor Martín Vizcarra, amid protests in the streets of Lima and the main cities of the country. A very conservative cabinet without weighty figures.

The appointment of Flores Aráoz, a 78-year-old lawyer, marks the return to the forefront of this social-Christian politician and identified with the hard wing of Peruvian conservatism.

His career was marked in July 2009 when, as Minister of Defense, he joined a cabinet that resigned after the death of 34 indigenous people and police during the repression of a protest. In 2016 he was a presidential candidate for his Orden party, in an election where he was last among 10 candidates with 0.43% of the votes.

Accused of racist and misogynist for his controversial statements, between 2007 and 2009 he collaborated with the government of Alan García (2006-2011), as ambassador to the OAS and later as Minister of Defense. Between 1990 and 2006 he was a member of parliament and presided over Congress in 2004.

Merino – who took three days to form his government, overwhelmed by the refusal of many of those consulteds- said he had summoned professionals without political distinctions, and asked the population to have the peace of mind and assurance that the task is assumed responsibly in all sectors.

“For the country the first consequence is clear. They have politicians without government experience, without a plan or proposal. The inauguration speech was hollow, and we are sure to see a lot of inefficiency in the exercise of power, who do not have the capacity to summon cadres. .. We are going to get used to a non-functional government, and that is complicated, “lamented Mauricio Zavaleta, political scientist at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP).

“They have not measured and have no way out”, agreed the political analyst Ramiro Escobar

This is without taking into account the risk of “fiscal irresponsibility” and the consequence that all the groups that allied against Vizcarra now go to war with each other, since it will not be possible to give everyone what they want.

“And if the mobilizations continue, the situation will be much more serious, because there are not many institutional exits either “Zabaleta added.

The president’s cabinet is made up mostly of men (11, compared to 7 women), career professionals in their specialties, some former ministers and former vice ministers of the Governments of Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), Alan García (1985- 1990 and 2006-2011) and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018) linked to conservative political sectors.

In addition, representatives of business sectors and industrial unions have also obtained a space in the Government.

Merino stressed that it is a transitional government, that respects the elections called for April 11, 2021 and that will be delivered to the winner on July 28 of the same year.

In a ceremony held outdoors on the esplanade of the Government Palace, Merino took the oath to the career diplomat Franca Deza in the Foreign Relations portfolio, the security expert Walter Chávez in Defense and the economist José Arista in the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Also, in the portfolio of the Interior to the Lieutenant General of the Police Gastón Rodríguez, who returns to office after four months, since he held the same position in the Vizcarra government.

“For the society that cries out for security and for the active and retired men of the National Police, yes, I swear,” said Rodríguez when accepting the assignment.

In the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the lawyer Delia Muñoz assumed, in Education Vice Admiral of the Navy Fernando D’Alessio -ex-minister of Kuczynski -, in Production to the consultant Alfonso Miranda and in Labor the congressman Juan Sheput, who was also minister of that portfolio in 2005 during the government of Alejandro Toledo.

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