Lima, Mar 9 (EFE).- President Pedro Castillo’s Cabinet secured a vote of confidence from Peru’s Congress early Wednesday just hours after opposition parties launched their second bid to impeach the leftist head of state since he took office last July.
In a session that lasted more than nine hours, Prime Minister Anibal Torres and his team were approved by a vote of 64-58 with two abstentions.
Whatever relief the vote brought the Castillo administration may be short-lived, as lawmakers are scheduled to debate Thursday a motion to censure Health Minister Hernan Condori.
After listening to opposition legislators describe the Cabinet with words such as “mediocre,” “improvised,” and “corrupt,” Torres promised that the Castillo government would acknowledge and correct its errors.
The administration is prioritizing “the needs of people and fundamental rights” within a framework of a market economy that respects individual rights, “but with active participation of the state to end the monopolies and oligopolies that have done so much damage to the country,” the prime minister said.
Torres spoke of plans to create jobs by spurring rural enterprise and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to agrarian reform.
The new Cabinet is the fourth to be named under Castillo, Peru’s fifth president in the last four years.
A schoolteacher with no previous political experience, the 51-year-old Castillo prevailed over Keiko Fujimori, daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori, by a razor-thin margin in the 2021 presidential election.
In December, an attempt by opposition members to force a vote on whether Castillo should be removed on grounds of “permanent moral incapacity” fell short, but a new motion was introduced on Tuesday.
This marks the sixth time in five years that legislators have cited “moral incapacity” as a reason to impeach a president, though the mechanism was created in the 19th century to address a situation in which the head of state is mentally impaired.
Fernando Tuesta, a political scientist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, told Efe in 2020 that the existence of the moral incapacity option leaves a politically weak president at the mercy of “irresponsible” legislators.
The professor commented in the wake of the Nov. 9, 2020, ouster of President Martin Vizcarra for moral incapacity based on unproven accusations of corruption during his 2011-2014 tenure as a regional governor.
And the new move against Castillo likewise rests on claims of corruption.
In this case, the allegations come from indicted businesswoman Karelim Lopez, who offered to testify against members of the government in exchange for consideration.
Castillo denies the charges. EFE csr/dr