President Pedro Castillo took office in Peru this Wednesday afternoon (28), in Lima, without announcing who will be his ministers.
After several days of waiting, the president decided that the ceremony would come down to his swearing in, the reception of foreign heads of state and the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Peru’s independence.
The Prime Minister, whose name is not yet known, will not be sworn in until Thursday (29), during a ceremony in the historic city of Ayacucho. Ministers will only do so on Friday (30). Peru adopts a presidential system with elements of parliamentarism. In this case, the prime minister has the role of chief of staff.
The delay in the ministerial proclamation is due to internal divisions within the ruling party, Free Peru. There is a division between those who want a ministry with a strong left group presence and those who favor a moderate cabinet and representatives of different political forces.
Castillo has indicated that he prefers this second option and that he also wants to research technical names for some files. The president of his party, Vladimir Cerrón, however retains control of several internal decisions and has a more radical ideological position, close to Chavismo. Cerrón would pressure Castillo for a more ideological ministry.
Castillo began his speech by thanking the indigenous and Afro-Peruvian peoples, saying it is “a pride and an honor” to have democratically won the elections.
He said the 200th anniversary of independence is an important date, but that “the history of Peru goes back much further” and that “it is a streak of pain for many ancestral and silenced peoples”. He said it would be a “popular government to rule for the people” and that “for the first time the country will be ruled by a peasant”.
Among his challenges, the first one he mentioned is the coronavirus pandemic. “We will honor the memory of those who died and we will continue to vaccinate our entire population as soon as possible,” he said.
“We will listen to and respect science in all decisions. The new variations are a challenge that we will face with the experts in the field.”
He said that in the economy he will respect private property, but the business model needs to be rethought. “We do not want to rule out the successes of the current model, or expropriate anything, but we must propose changes. The economy will maintain its order and its credibility, so that investments continue to flow. What we want, it is to put an end to the abuses and the high cost of basic services. ”.
He also said that the focus will be more on the fight against corruption. “We see that there are several former presidents arrested or investigated, but I do not see any businessman. Corruption must be investigated at all its levels. He said sentenced foreigners “will have 72 hours to leave the country.”
Regarding the Armed Forces, the new president declared that they “will actively participate in new development projects”, and that promotions “will be based on meritocracy and not on friendship”.
She also said that there will be a new Constitution, drawn up by a Constituent Assembly elected by the people, and that it will have gender parity.
The inauguration ceremony began in the morning with a mass, attended by the outgoing president, Francisco Sagasti. He then went to Congress, where he was honored by the Armed Forces and handed the presidential sash to Congress President María del Carmen Alva of the Popular Action Party (center-right).
Sagasti thanked the applause and left the Legislative Palace smiling. Unlike previous presidents, he leaves the presidency with high popularity by Peruvian standards of 51% (according to Instituto de Estudos Peruanos).
Having only been in power for eight months, Sagasti stabilized a tormented tenure and managed to secure contracts for the acquisition of more than 68 million doses of coronavirus vaccines. One of the countries most affected by the virus in the region, Peru has started to see its cases decrease. According to polls, its great popularity is mainly linked to its policy of combating the pandemic.
Each stage of the inauguration event was marked by a lot of pomp and splendor, due to the festive date for which Peruvians had been preparing for months. On July 28, 1821, the Argentine general José de San Martín, arrived in Lima with his army, proclaimed the independence of the country. The date is a national holiday.
Presidents Guillermo Lasso (Ecuador), Iván Duque (Colombia), Alberto Fernández (Argentina), Sebastián Piñera (Chile), Luis Arce (Bolivia) and King Felipe 6th of Spain were present at the ceremony. Brazil was represented by Vice-President Hamilton Mourão.
Castillo won the second round of the Peruvian elections on June 6, against candidate Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is in prison for crimes of corruption and crimes against humanity.
A primary school teacher in Cajamarca, Castillo was chosen to represent Free Peru after the electoral tribunal barred his political godfather, Vladimir Cerrón, from competing.
Cerrón, former governor of Junín, is found guilty of corruption and has chosen Castillo as his running mate. One of the unknowns of this management principle is whether Cerrón will be an important presence in the decisions of the new president, or if he will be arrested due to the corruption process.
The day before the inauguration, Cerrón dined with former Bolivian President Evo Morales, his friend, who also attended the ceremony in Lima.