After 24 hours of uncertainty and the worst Friday in years on the stock market, Peru’s new president, Pedro Castillo, has completed his cabinet, swearing in moderate left-wing economist Pedro Francke as finance minister, and in the process calming down nervous investors and anxious Peruvians. Similary.
Aníbal Torres was also sworn in, as justice minister, on Friday, filling the remaining vacant cabinet seats. The rest were sworn in late Thursday amid deep concern over Castillo’s election as prime minister, Guido Bellido, who is under investigation for allegedly defending Shining Path, a Maoist rebel group that killed tens of thousands of Peruvians in the 1980s and 1990s and is also accused of making homophobic comments.
In a marked rejection of Bellido’s controversial views, Francke promised to work “for the good life, with equal opportunities, without distinction of gender, ethnic identity or sexual orientation” when he was sworn in as minister.
Hours before the ceremony, Bellido tweetedWith a pinch of desperation, Francke had “our full support to apply the stable economic policy expressed in the bicentennial plan without corruption.”
The 60-year-old former world bank technocrat had been a close economic adviser to Castillo during a long vote count after the second round of elections in June, dispelling fears that his future government would practice nationalization and expropriation of resources.
“Private companies will remain private companies,” he told The Guardian in June. “Our economy will be market-oriented but with pro-poor policies,” he said. He ruled out nationalizations, but said multinational mining companies would have to leave more money in the country.
Wishing Francke success, former Peruvian Finance Minister Alonso Segura tweeted: “Their efforts will be fundamental to generate the consensus that allows a better country for all Peruvians.”
Francke’s earlier absence from the cabinet, compounded by Bellido’s controversial appointment, had plunged the incoming government into crisis. Centrist lawmakers have spearheaded calls for Bellido’s resignation as prime minister.
His appointment has been linked to Vladimir Cerrón, a close ally and founder of the Marxist-Leninist Peru Libre party to which Castillo belongs. Concern over the influence of Cerrón, a Cuban-educated neurosurgeon who admires the Venezuelan government, has undermined the belief that Castillo is in control of his government.