Peru appoints new prime minister after protests

Alberto Otarola sworn in as part of reshuffle amid political upheaval

A supporter of Peru's ousted President Pedro Castillo shouts slogans in Cusco, Peru. AFP
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Alberto Otarola was sworn in as Peru's prime minister on Wednesday in a partial cabinet reshuffle after major political upheaval that left more than 20 people dead.

The former defence minister was sworn in by President Dina Boluarte, who replaced former president Pedro Castillo this month after what a tribunal described as an attempted coup.

New defence and interior ministers have also been appointed.

Mr Castillo was ousted after trying to dissolve congress and write a new constitution, leading to a backlash from the army and politicians including members of his own government. He was impeached by parliament and detained.

At least 21 people were killed in protests after the leftist leader was arrested.

On Thursday, a judge ordered he remain in custody for 18 months. It came after the country's congress removed a privilege that prevents Peru’s presidents from facing criminal charges.

Ms Boluarte, who previously served as vice premier, took up office two weeks ago and is the country's first woman head of state.

Mr Castillo's family have arrived in Mexico, where they have been given political asylum.

A Mexican Foreign Ministry official confirmed their arrival on Wednesday.

Peru said it would allow the family to leave for Mexico, but could later demand Mexico extradite former first lady, Lilia Paredes, if she were to eventually face corruption charges at home.

Mexico's stance on Peru's political situation has triggered a diplomatic spat with Lima.

Peru declared the Mexican ambassador a “persona non grata” and gave him 72 hours to leave the country hours after Mr Castillo's family arrived in Mexico.

Lima expelled Mexican ambassador Pablo Monroy because “of the repeated statement by that country’s highest authorities about the political situation in the country,” its Foreign Ministry said on social media.

Mexico City has ruled out cutting ties with Lima, however.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Mexico will maintain ties with Peru in order to protect its citizens in the country.

“We will not expel anyone,” he told reporters.


Updated: December 21, 2022, 5:45 PM