LatinNews Daily - 04 August 2022

PERU: Prime minister resigns

On 3 August, Peru’s Prime Minister Aníbal Torres resigned, in a move that is likely to force a wider reshuffle of President Pedro Castillo’s cabinet.


Castillo will soon be on to his fifth prime minister in little over a year. Whilst Torres claims that his decision to leave government was solely motivated by a desire for a career change, his resignation came as the multiple criminal investigations into the Castillo administration’s alleged corruption appear to be progressing; a key former presidential adviser handed himself into the authorities last week, and is presumably under pressure to enter a plea deal to expose a corruption racket that prosecutors claim reached the highest levels of government.

  • Torres cited “personal reasons” for his departure, stating in his resignation letter that he wishes to return to his previous role as a university law professor.
  • However, Torres leaves government at a time when the Castillo administration is mired in multiple criminal investigations, and when Castillo himself is facing the renewed threat of a third impeachment attempt. Torres’ resignation came eight days after Castillo’s former chief aide, Bruno Pacheco, handed himself in to the authorities to face a corruption investigation that Castillo himself is embroiled in.
  • Even prior to Pacheco’s surrender to the authorities, the government was facing an escalating series of scandals and political threats that may have prompted Torres’ resignation. First Lady Lilia Paredes and her siblings, Yenifer Paredes, Walther Paredes Navarro, and David Paredes Navarro, have all been under preliminary investigation by the attorney general’s office since late July for the alleged crimes of money laundering and criminal organisation.
  • In addition, on 15 July congress voted to approve a report by the congressional oversight commission, which accused Castillo of heading a criminal organisation and recommended his impeachment. Deputies voted to approve the report with 72 votes in favour, 40 against, and no abstentions. With opposition figures signalling the possibility of a third impeachment motion, the vote on the report boded ill for Castillo, given that it would only take another 15 deputies to reach the 87-vote threshold to oust him in an impeachment vote.
  • According to Américo Gonza, a deputy for the far-left Perú Libre (PL) with which Castillo won power, Torres had planned his resignation with Castillo. Speaking on 29 July, Gonza said that “the president has announced that there’s going to be a cabinet change… I know that Mr Aníbal Torres is asking to be replaced. He thinks that he has completed his cycle and that space should be given to another person.” At the time, sources from Castillo’s office denied Gonza’s claims, according to the local media.
  • Peru’s constitution mandates that when the prime minister resigns, all other ministers must offer their resignations, although it will be Castillo and the next prime minister who decide whether they remain in government. Given the rapid turnover of cabinet ministers during Castillo’s first tumultuous year in office, there is a strong possibility that the leadership of key ministries will change.

Looking Ahead: Castillo has given no indication on who Torres’ successor might be, although given his precarious position he may seek to appoint a unifying figure. Previous prime ministerial resignations and firings under Castillo have been followed by a change of course from the government: the hard-left Guido Bellido was replaced by the moderate Mirtha Vásquez, who was briefly succeeded by the political chameleon Héctor Valer (who in less than a year represented far-right, centrist, and leftist parties in congress), before Torres took over.

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