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Peru's socialist president fires two ministers as tensions across country reach boiling point

Castillo suma otro escándalo en menos de un año al frente del país
Castillo suma otro escándalo en menos de un año al frente del país | Prensa Presidencia

May 23, 2022 7:54pm

Updated: May 23, 2022 7:54pm

As protests continue to rage across Peru, the Andean nation’s socialist President Pedro Castillo announced on Sunday that he was replacing his government’s interior and mining ministers.

The announcement came just two months after Castillo announced his last cabinet shuffle, replacing former Prime Minister Mirtha Vasquez who resigned “due to the impossibility of reaching consensus to benefit the country."

The latest change represents the fourth time the leftist leader made changes within his administration since taking office last year and shows the political turmoil currently being suffered by his administration over historically low poll numbers, a hostile Congress, accusations of corruption and mounting popular protests over rising fuel, food and fertilizer prices.

Last month, Peruvians took to the streets to protest as fuel and fertilizer prices reached historic highs – prompting Leftist President Pedro Castillo imposed a curfew in Peru’s capital, Lima and to declare a state of emergency along the nation’s highways.

Although Castillo once enjoyed wide support among Peru’s rural poor, his support has evaporated in the 9 months since he took office.

According to a recent Datum poll, only 19% of the population supports the former schoolteacher and trade unionist who won the presidency under a “Marxist-Leninist” banner in June of 2021.  

In Peru’s capital region, 85% of those polled said they disapprove of Castillo – while disapproval stood at 79% in the country’s eastern region, 77% in the center and 62% in the south, La Republica reported.

Furthermore, 77% percent of women disagree with Castillo's government, while 74% of male respondents disapprove. Similarly, there is evidence to suggest that disapproval of the president exceeds 70% across all socioeconomic sectors.

But Castillo’s cabinet – which has suffered several reshuffles in recent months – also faired poorly in the survey.

Prime Minister Aníbal Torres Vázquez currently holds a 62% disapproval rating after only two months as head of the Council of Ministers – a higher figure than his predecessors Guido Bellido (51% disapproval) and Mirtha Vasquez (58% disapproval.)

As an expression of the political crisis and the distrust of Peruvians in the authorities, Datum also found that 82% of the population disapproves of the work of the Peru’s Congress.

Peruvians have long been divided with regards to Castillo’s socialist regime, but protests driven by rising fuel and food prices  further angered voters who have, in recent months, called for Castillo to step down and call for new general elections.

While in office, he has survived two impeachment attempts and been forced to reshuffle his cabinet countless times.