LIMA- The Prime Minister of Peru , Aníbal Torres , announced this Wednesday on Twitter that he submitted his resignation to President Pedro Castillo alleging “personal reasons”, at a time when the Government is going through a political storm due to investigations of alleged corruption in the environment power.
Torres, who had assumed the presidency of the Council of Ministers in February, had become a staunch defender of the president in the face of corruption allegations and constant clashes with the opposition-dominated Congress.
“I am retiring from office after having served, together with you, our country, especially the most neglected and forgotten people,” Torres said in a tweet.
His resignation comes when President Castillo faces five investigations, including alleged crimes of influence peddling, obstruction of justice and even plagiarism of his master’s thesis as a professor.
Castillo, a former trade unionist and public school teacher, has denied the charges and has accused the “oligarchy and powers that be” of seeking his removal.
The attorney general, Patricia Benavides, will go to the Government Palace on Thursday to question Castillo about the alleged influence peddling in the promotion of high-ranking military officers, confirmed the attorney for the president, Benji Espinoza. The prosecution awaits the president’s statements on August 9 for the case of alleged cover-up of fugitives from justice.
More than a week ago, a former adviser to Castillo, investigated by the prosecution, turned himself in to collaborate with the justice system and reduce possible sentences. According to his lawyer, César Nakazaki, the former adviser has evidence that would involve Castillo.
The president’s defense has presented several legal resources in search of stopping the investigations. On Tuesday, Castillo accused the prosecutor’s office of wanting to “dismantle” an investigation of judges implicated in alleged cases of corruption.
The supreme prosecutors responded to Castillo on Wednesday in a statement saying that the Public Ministry acts “without any type of political, economic or media interference.”
The president, who has made an unprecedented rotation of ministers during his term, must now decide whether to accept Torres’s resignation and announce his replacement, who would be the fifth prime minister a year after assuming the government.
With the departure of the prime minister, all the members of the cabinet of 19 ministers must also present their resignation and President Castillo can confirm or renew his team.
Adding to the political uncertainty that Castillo faces are the social conflicts in the world’s second largest copper producer, which have slowed down mining operations and affected investor confidence, despite the fact that the president has moderated his speech of greater state intervention in the economy.
The prime minister’s resignation came as a surprise to the group of legislators who support the president in Congress.
“It is one of the backbones of the administration and it is a reason for the president to evaluate it well,” said Edgar Tello, of the so-called Magisterial Bloc in the Legislature and former member of the Marxist Peru Libre party that brought Castillo to power.
Meanwhile, from the opposition they welcomed the resignation. “I hope that he is now an independent in office,” said legislator Jorge Montoya, of the right-wing Popular Renovation party.
Congress is also investigating Castillo and opposition legislators have recently announced that they will prepare a motion to start a new impeachment trial against the president, who has already survived two impeachment attempts.
But to remove Castillo from office requires more than 87 votes out of 130 in Peru’s fragmented unicameral Congress, something unlikely at the moment, according to analysts.
Peru has lived in the midst of constant political shocks and has had five presidents since 2016, including Castillo, after dismissals or resignations of heads of state.