Peruvian President Appoints General as Chief of Staff Amid Political Crisis

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Peruvian President Appoints General as Chief of Staff Amid Political Crisis




Photo released by the Peruvian presidency of President Martín Vizcarra, during a televised announcement on July 5, 2020, in Lima.


© Andrés Valle
Photo released by the Peruvian presidency of President Martín Vizcarra, during a televised announcement on July 5, 2020, in Lima.


Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra on Thursday (6) retired retired general Walter Martos – formerly head of defense – as chief of staff, in order to avoid an unexpected clash with Congress in the midst of the pandemic.

Martos replaces Pedro Cateriano, who was forced to resign 20 days after taking office with the entire cabinet, after Congress denied him a vote of confidence on Tuesday.

The ministers of Health, Pilar Mazzetti, and Economy and Finance, Maria Antonieta Alva, were validated for their positions by the president.

Vizcarra, who began the last year of his term on July 28, sworn in the 19 cabinet ministers during a ceremony at the Government Palace, broadcast on television by the state broadcaster.

The cabinet led by Martos must immediately expand its relationship with Congress, controlled by a diverse alliance of four center-right and left populist parties.

Martos, 62, a division general who retired in 2013, will be the first military man to hold the presidency of the Council of Ministers in a decade. In 2011, Oscar Valdés, a retired lieutenant colonel, did this during Ollanta Humala’s term.

Martos’ new office is the fifth named by Vizcarra since he took office in March 2018.

The new chief of staff succeeds Pedro Cateriano, from July 15 to August 4, until Congress denies him the vote of confidence to formally exercise his functions.

Martos must appear in Congress within 30 days to present his government plan.

Congress demands that Vizcarra prioritize health care and the recovery of the economy, which collapsed during the nearly four months of confinement because of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Peru recorded a record 221 deaths from coronavirus and 7,734 new cases, the second highest daily number since the 8,805 recorded on May 31, according to an updated bulletin from the Ministry of Health.

With 447,624 cases and 20,228 deaths from the new coronavirus, the Andean country of 33 million inhabitants is the third in Latin America in cases and deaths from COVID-19, behind Brazil and Mexico.

ljc / fj / lda / bn / mvv

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