Peru’s new president, Dina Boluarte, was sworn into her cabinet on Saturday just three days after becoming the country’s first female head of state and asked every minister to pledge to be free from corruption while in office.
The 17 ministers chosen by Boluarte, who was elevated on Wednesday from the post of vice president to replace Pedro Castillo as the country’s leader, will be key to further poisoning or calming a South American country in the throes of a seemingly endemic political crisis.
Boluarte presented her centrist government amid protests across Peru calling for her resignation and the scheduling of general elections to replace her and Congress.
She asked each of the nine men and eight women to swear or promise to perform their duties “fairly and faithfully without committing acts of corruption”. All cabinet members knelt in front of her and wore red and white sashes tied around their waists. A large crucifix was placed in front of most of the cabinet members as they answered Boluarte’s question.
Fluent in Spanish and Quechua, Boluarte was elected vice president on the presidential slate that brought the center-left Castillo to power last year. She was Minister of Development and Social Inclusion during the 17 months of administration of Castillo, a rural teacher with no prior political experience.
Boluarte, 60, replaced Castillo after he stunned the country by ordering the dissolution of Congress, which in turn sacked him for “permanent moral incapacity”. He was arrested for rebellion. His failed push against the opposition-led Congress came hours before lawmakers launched a third impeachment attempt against him.
She addressed the nation after Saturday’s ceremony and promised Peruvians a government open to dialogue. She said her team will work for the country’s economic reactivation and social justice and follow “the path of progress”.
“I want to assure you that I have worked hard to form a ministerial cabinet for unity and democratic consolidation (and) that is at the level of what the country requires,” Boluarte said, adding that “the government of national unity will be for all”. Peruvians.
Castillo has gone through more than 70 cabinet members during his administration. Some of them have been accused of wrongdoing.
Boluarte said she should be allowed to hold the post for the remaining three and a half years of her term. But protesters are calling for new elections. Some of those demonstrating for Castillo have called her a “traitor”.
Boluarte’s cabinet includes lawyers Pedro Angulo, an anti-corruption prosecutor who was named prime minister, and Alberto Otárola, who will be defense minister, a position he held a decade ago. She also swore in Alex Contreras and Ana Cecilia Gervasi as ministers of economy and foreign affairs, respectively. They both served as deputy ministers in those agencies.
Boluarte has yet to name the Ministers of Labor and Transport.
On Saturday, people protesting Castillo’s detention smashed the windows of a police station as they tried to break into the building, according to state media, which showed footage from inside the police station. ‘establishment. Meanwhile, several highways were still blocked by protesters demanding the closure of Congress, the resignation of Boluarte and new elections.
“Congress kicked us and made fun of the popular vote,” protester Mauro Sánchez said in Lima, where police used tear gas to end protests that began on Wednesday. “Let’s take to the streets, let’s not be ruled by this mafia Congress.
Peru has had six presidents in the past six years, including three in a single week in 2020 when Congress relaxed its impeachment powers.
The struggle for power in the country continues as the Andes and its thousands of small farms struggle to survive the worst drought in half a century. Without rain, farmers cannot plant potatoes and the dying grass can no longer feed the herds of sheep, alpacas, vicunas and llamas.
The government has also confirmed that over the past week Peru has experienced a fifth wave of Covid-19 infections. The country has recorded around 4.3 million infections and 217,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Boluarte lacks support in Congress. Like Castillo, she was expelled in January from the far-left party with which the pair was elected president and vice-president.
Omar Coronel, professor of political science at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, said an important variable for Boluarte’s government will be its ability to manage waves of discontent and generate a coalition in Congress that can support it but that at the same time “is not an aberration for the left”.