The secretary general of the Perú Libre party, Vladimir Cerrón, announced this Thursday (14) that the party will not give a vote of confidence to the new cabinet recently appointed by President Pedro Castillo. Through tweets and statements, the two politicians exposed the split formed in the party that until now was the support base of the new president.
On the 6th, the president announced the change of his prime minister and six other assistants, a measure seen as a way of trying to improve governability, after just over two months of his inauguration. Former Prime Minister Guido Bellido Ugarte was a point of tension, having been the target of criticism in Congress since his appointment.
In a statement on Thursday, Cerrón said that the government, with the new ministerial configuration, would be making a “turn to the centre-right” and that the party would not support this movement. The official also stated that he does not accept the presence of “caviars” in the cabinet — a term used to refer to politicians with a center-left profile, such as the head of Economy, Pedro Francke, and the current prime minister, Mirtha Vázquez.
A radical leftist and Chavista politician, the leader of Perú Libre nominated Castillo to run for the Peruvian presidency in his place in April, as his legal status — he responds to lawsuits for corruption — did not allow him to run.
“The changes that the country needs are resolved through working, not through tweets. It is necessary to work alongside the people,” the president replied, at an event in the province of San Martín, in which he also appealed for popular support. “I answer to the people, to the ronderos [grupos de defesa comunitária do interior] and to the teachers, who elected me. If they detect that we are stealing a penny from the country, let them go out on the streets and come talk, because we are here because of the popular will.”
Castillo won the election in a tight second round against right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori.
Since taking office in July, he has been trying to strike a difficult balance between the need to be loyal to Peru Libre and, at the same time, more moderate in order to have support in Congress and transit with the productive sector and other layers of society — he he is the leader with the lowest popular approval for the beginning of the administration in the country in the last 20 years.
The first cabinet chosen by the president, with a strong presence of trusted names from Cerrón — notably the prime minister, Bellido — was approved in late August after a marathon of two sessions in Congress. Last week, however, it was dissolved under the threat of parliamentarians to carry out impediments to ministers.
The new team, chosen on the same day and with seven changes, did not please the more radical wing of Perú Libre, as it brought more moderate names, after nominations from center and center-left parties. The new prime minister, Mirtha Vázquez, for example, belongs to the Frente Amplio, a moderate leftist party.
On the night of the 6th, the leftmost caucus of the president’s party had informed that it would not give the vote of confidence, necessary for the ministry to continue governing, to the newly appointed cabinet. At the time, Waldemar Cerrón, Vladimir’s brother and party spokesman, claimed that Castillo was a traitor.
According to Peruvian law, the vote of confidence, an approval by Congress, must take place 30 days after the appointment of the council of ministers, in a session in which the prime minister presents the main lines of his administration.
In the text released on Thursday, Cerrón says that there will be “expulsions” from the party in the coming days and speaks of a reorganization of the parliamentary bench and a change in the bloc’s leadership. He also mentions disciplinary measures to be applied to two ministers appointed by Castillo, Dina Boluarte and Betssy Chávez, who are part of the legend.
Faced with the withdrawal of Perú Libre, other parties came out in favor of a vote of confidence in Castillo’s new cabinet.
Left and center acronyms that had positioned themselves against the team led by Bellido, Força Popular, Avança Pais and Popular Renewal now claim that they will support the new ministry.