Former Peru defense minister Walter Martos named as new prime minister

Martin Vizcarra and Walter Martos
Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra and new Defense Minister Walter Martos shake hands during a swearing-in ceremony at the government palace in Lima, Peru.

Peruvian president Martin Vizcarra on Thursday named retired general Walter Martos, the former defense minister, as the country’s new prime minister as part of cabinet reshuffle over a clash with the opposition-held Congress.

Vizcarra also appointed attorney Luis Inchishategui as head of Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Peru’s economy, headed for its worst decline in a century due to a prolonged coronavirus pandemic lockdown, is highly dependent on mining. The country is the world’s second largest copper producer.

In total, Vizcarra made five changes in his cabinet of 19 ministers, including the prime minister. It was the second cabinet reorganization in almost three weeks.

Inchishategui, who has been vice minister of Mines, has extensive experience in the private sector and has worked as a lawyer for several firms, including South African Gold Fields.

Economy and finance minister Maria Antonieta Alva will remain in her role, Vizcarra said.

Peru’s Congress on Tuesday rejected a vote of confidence for then Prime Minister Pedro Cateriano. The upheaval threw the government’s plan to kick-start the Andean nation’s ailing economy into disarray.

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