By Marco Aquino
LIMA, Aug 4 – Peru´s Congress on Tuesday rejected a vote of confidence for President Martín Vizcarra´s cabinet chief, forcing yet another reshuffle of his top advisors in the middle of an economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Cabinet chief and Prime Minister Pedro Cateriano lost a confidence vote 54-37 after a marathon parliamentary session that began on Monday morning.
The upheaval throws the government’s plan to kickstart the Andean nation’s ailing economy into disarray. The 19 cabinet ministers must now present their resignation to Vizcarra, who has no political party or representation in Congress. A new cabinet must be appointed within 48 hours.
Vizcarra had already been forced to replace more than half of his cabinet in mid-July as his popularity plunged due to the harsh economic impact of the pandemic and a lengthy lockdown.
The ousted Cateriano, an experienced independent politician, had presented an ambitious economic recovery plan in Congress the day before.
Peru, the world’s second biggest copper producer, has been battered by the COVID-19 outbreak. It has the third most cases in Latin American, behind only Mexico and Brazil. The economy has crashed as mining output sank.
“This is the answer to arrogance, to the lack of proposals. People are dying in the country,” said José Luna, leader of the Union for Peru party, following the vote.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Bill Berkrot)