Amidst reclaims of right-wing lawmakers, the Peruvian Congress on Thursday night suspended the debate to grant its vote of confidence to President Pedro Castillo’s Council of Ministers.
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"The session is suspended until tomorrow at 09:00," Congress President Maria Alva announced after over 11 hours of debate around the vote, which the Constitution establishes is compulsory for the cabinet to remain in office.
During the Congress plenary meeting, Prime Minister Guido Bellido urged lawmakers to set aside the differences that they have with the Castillo administration so as to work together to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and reactivate the country’s economy.
He announced that the State would strengthen its exploration in oil and gas industries to use the income obtained from these sectors in development projects. Bellido also informed that Castillo allocated US$682 million to fight the pandemic and that he has proposed to finish vaccination of over-18-year-old Peruvians and to start to vaccinate minor citizens by the end of the year.
"We do not pretend to be the continuity of previous governments, nor to copy models from other countries. Our mission is to make structural changes in Peru in an orderly, democratic, and peaceful manner," Bellido assured.
Despite this, opposition lawmaker Hernando Guerra stated that Congress would not give its vote of confidence to the Council of Ministers. Previously, conflicts between the Castillo administration and right-wing lawmakers were prompted by the appointment of Hector Bejar as foreign affairs minister. To avoid any attempts at destabilization, he resigned and was replaced by Oscar Maurtua, a career diplomat with no ties to the Left who had already held that position in 2006.
If Congress does not approve the currently appointed ministers, Castillo would have to form a new cabinet. If the lawmakers were to reject the alternative team of ministers again, the Peruvian president could dissolve Congress and convene extraordinary parliamentary elections, as provided by the Constitution.