Peru’s Congress ousts President Kuczynski’s cabinet in no-confidence vote

LIMA – Peru’s opposition-ruled Congress on Friday voted 77-22 to dismiss President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s Cabinet in a motion of no-confidence, deepening a political standoff that could lead to new legislative elections if lawmakers reject the next cabinet.

Mr. Kuczynski is now considering appointing Vice President Martin Vizcarra as his new prime minister in a new Cabinet that will swear in on Sunday. Kuczynski is also eyeing Claudia Cooper as his new finance minister, Reuters reported citing its sources.

The single-chamber legislature is dominated by the Popular Force party, led by Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori who is currently in jail for human rights atrocities and corruption.

Accusing the opposition of undermining his policies, especially on education, Kuczynski told Peruvians in a televised speech that he would keep working to better their lives.

“That’s the mandate I have until July 28, 2021 and I won’t retreat one millimeter in that goal,” said Kuczynski, a former Wall Street banker who narrowly won last year’s election. He did not announce any cabinet appointments.

By law, after Congress delivers a no-confidence vote the cabinet must be renewed, and Kuczynski’s new nominees must obtain legislative approval. However if the candidates are rejected, Kuczynski can dissolve Congress and call for new legislative elections.

Both Kuczynski and the legislators were elected to serve until 2021.

Kuczynski, a 78-year-old former Wall Street banker who has vowed to modernise Peru and revive economic growth, took office a year ago with one of the weakest mandates of any president, having beat Keiko Fujimori by a razor-thin margin while his party only secured a small portion of seats in Congress.

During his first year as president Kuczynski has lost three cabinet ministers in clashes with Congress.