Peru's leader accepts resignations of entire Cabinet

Peruvian President Alan Garcia accepted the resignations of his entire Cabinet on Friday in the face of a brewing corruption scandal over petroleum concessions.

“This Cabinet will leave with their heads high, and Peru will reflect on the good work that they have contributed,” Garcia said. “The road ahead of us is wide open.”

The president praised his 16 departing ministers, calling their decision to resign a “noble political gesture”, adding they were “momentarily trapped in the political whirlpool, which is the result of plots, appetites and passions”.

Garcia called attention to several social policy achievements of the Cabinet, headed by President of the Council of Ministers Jorge del Castillo, since it took office in July 2006.

At a ceremony regarding the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum that Peru will host next month, Del Castillo announced that Garcia had accepted the resignations, heading off a censure vote in Congress.

“We are leaving with our faces clean, held high, proud of our reputations,” said Del Castillo, who characterised his government as “serious, stable, responsible, that fulfills its commitments”.

The chief minister lamented the ouster and denied any part in the corruption scandal, saying: “This is how politics works.”

The scandal erupted on Sunday, when a television programme broadcast audio tapes in which two members of the ruling party solicited a kickback of five petroleum lots from the Norwegian firm Discover Petroleum International.

Political analysts said Garcia was forced to dump the Cabinet to avoid a certain vote of censure, but speculated that he would name a new Cabinet with several of those same ministers reinstated in their portfolios.—Sapa-dpa


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