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Leftist lawyer appointed Peruvian PM as Castillo forced to reshuffle cabinet

FORMER head of the Peruvian Congress Mirtha Vasquez was sworn in as the country’s new prime minister on Wednesday night, just hours after the resignation of her predecessor.

Guido Bellido stepped down after just two months in the post, citing “instability” in the Andean country.

He announced his decision at around 8pm on Wednesday night at the request of President Pedro Castillo, who thanked him for his service.

The resignation of the prime minister automatically triggers that of the entire cabinet. 

Mr Castillo appointed Eduardo Gonzalez Toro as new minister for energy and mines. Centre-left Economy Minister Pedro Francke remained in his post.

Ms Vasquez, the new prime minister, was head of Congress between 2020 and 2021. 

She is a lawyer and shot to prominence successfully defending a peasant farmer against the Newmont Mining Corp’s Yanacocha goldmine in 2017.

The country’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of Maxima Acuna, who said her home was destroyed by the construction of the $5 billion (£3.6bn) mine, halting development plans.

Mr Bellido is a member of the Marxist-Leninist Free Peru party, alongside Mr Castillo, but was perceived by many to have adopted a more hard-line stance.

He faced opposition both in Congress and from some members of the cabinet over his suggestion that Peru’s natural gas sector should be nationalised.

And he came under fire for comments which were perceived to be supportive of the Maoist Shining Path, which is designated a terrorist organisation.

Soon after the news of the resignation broke, Mr Castillo said that he was putting Peru “above ideologies” and said that the country welcomed private investment.

“I have decided to make decisions in favour of governance, the balance of powers is the bridge between the rule of law and democracy,” he said.

“We ratify Peru’s commitment to private investment, stressing the need for it to operate without corruption and social responsibility.”

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