Peru: President Castillo announces the resignation of the Prime Minister

After confirming the resignation of Guido Bellido, President Pedro Castillo is expected to appoint a new prime minister and a new cabinet.

Peruvian Prime Minister Guido Bellido has resigned after two months in office, Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced Wednesday, citing “instability” in the country.

Castillo had named Bellido after his presidential victory in July, and Congress approved the new administration in August.

“Today, I am informing the country that we have accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Guido Bellido Ugarte, whom we thank for his services rendered,” Castillo said in a surprise message broadcast on state television on Wednesday.

Under Peruvian law, the resignation of the Prime Minister automatically triggers that of the entire cabinet.

Castillo gave no reason for the move, but said a new prime minister and a new cabinet – which could be the same as the old one – would be announced later in the evening. Bellido’s resignation letter stated that he was doing so at Castillo’s “request”.

Following the announcement of his resignation, Bellido posted a photo from the movie Gladiator on Twitter with the caption: “We are returning to the arena we belong to.”

Castillo and Bellido both belong to the Socialist Party of Free Peru, but Bellido had taken more left-wing positions and faced opposition for suggesting that Peru’s natural gas sector should be nationalized.

Last month, his cabinet delivered a letter to Argentinian Pluspetrol, Peru’s largest natural gas player, asking him to renegotiate the company’s contract with the state to pay higher taxes.

In an interview with Reuters news agency after taking office, Bellido called for direct state involvement in key economic areas.

“Our feeling is that the strategic sectors must be in the hands of the government,” he said.

“In my opinion, natural gas is a strategic resource and must have the participation of the government [as well] than new large-scale hydroelectric projects.

In August, Bellido also delivered a speech to Congress in the indigenous Quechua language for the first time in the country’s history.

But the appointment of the outgoing prime minister was controversial from the start.

Peruvian media have claimed that Bellido, 41, had been investigated by prosecutors for alleged “terrorism apologies” following statements made shortly after taking his seat in parliament in June.

In statements to online media Inka Vision, he appeared to defend those who supported the Shining Path Maoist group which fought the state from 1980 to 2000 and is designated a terrorist organization by Lima.

In a Twitter post, Congress President Maria del Carmen Alva, member of the right wing Accion Popular, welcomed Bellido’s departure, saying it came after days of “unnecessary uncertainty”.

Announcing Bellido’s resignation, Castillo said his government supports private investment in the country.

“The balance of power is the bridge between the rule of law and democracy,” Castillo said.

“Votes of confidence, [Congressional] hearings and censorship must not be used to create political instability, ”he added.

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