With political tensions still high, Peru's Congress to vote on Monday on new cabinet


FILE PHOTO: President Pedro Castillo of Peru shakes hands with Mirtha Vasquez after her swearing-in as the country's new prime minister, in Lima, Peru, October 6, 2021. Peru Presidency/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru's Congress will vote on a new cabinet from Monday, it said on Wednesday, a move that Peruvians and investors hope will calm long-running political tensions if the cabinet is confirmed.

Earlier in October, just two months into the job, socialist and political newcomer President Pedro Castillo nominated a new prime minister and cabinet after his first pick resigned.

Mirtha Vasquez, his new prime minister appointee, is widely seen as more moderate than her predecessor, Guido Bellido, a member of Marxist-Leninist party Free Peru who had threatened to nationalize Peru's gas sector.

The country's Sol currency had fallen to record lows after Bellido was appointed but has rallied since Vasquez was nominated.

However, if Congress were to reject her cabinet, that would send Castillo back to the drawing board and create uncertainty about who his next pick could be.

With Congress controlled by the opposition, the result of the vote is unclear. Castillo has strained ties with the radical Free Peru party that helped him to power, with some lawmakers saying they will vote to reject the new cabinet.

Castillo also has had a tense relationship with Congress and is in the middle of a legal dispute. Congress passed a law this week to limit when Peru's executive is allowed to dissolve the legislative chamber, which Castillo has said is an unconstitutional constraint.

Peru has cycled through five presidents in the past five years, during a period of political tension between the executive and legislative branches. Former President Martin Vizcarra dissolved Congress in 2019 only to be impeached by the legislature the following year.

(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun and Marco Aquino, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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