LIMA (Reuters) – The latest prime minister picked by Peru’s embattled president, Pedro Castillo, pledged to pursue free-market policies in his first public remarks on Wednesday, a day after a new Cabinet was unveiled that aims for stability in the Andean nation.
Speaking at a government news conference, Prime Minister Anibal Torres also emphasized that Castillo’s leftist administration will promote a strong government that can prevent monopolies and other concentrations of economic power.
Torres, who previously served as justice minister, was tapped Tuesday night as the president’s fourth prime minister since he took office last July.
“Our policy is the free market, free economic enterprise, free business, but with the participation of the state to control monopolies, oligopolies and (other) dominant positions,” Torres said, as he was flanked by other ministers.
The Cabinet re-shuffle took place after the departure of the previous prime minister, who was heavily criticized for allegations of domestic violence, which he had denied.
Torres is seen as a Castillo loyalist and will be tasked with helping advance the president’s agenda in a fragmented Congress dominated by conservative opposition parties.
Finance Minister Oscar Graham, a more centrist technocrat who previously worked at the central bank, was kept on in the new Cabinet, which was welcome news for investors and other business-friendly advocates.
“They won’t be able to label us communists because we haven’t carried out any actions that align with that political ideology,” said Torres.
He emphasized that the new Cabinet will seek measures to improve security as well as the South American country’s COVID-19 vaccination program, which he pitched as key to economic growth.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Leslie Adler)