LIMA – Peru’s Prime Minister Fernando Zavala said on Friday that it had been an honor to serve the country under the leadership of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, making the remarks after the loss of a confidence vote in the opposition-led Congress triggered his ouster.
Zavala said on Twitter that it had been very important for him to “lead and defend policies that benefit all Peruvians.”
“Peru and our people have a great future ahead of us. Thank you to my entire team. It’s been an honor to work with you,” he said of the other Cabinet members, who also must resign.
The loss of the confidence vote by 77-22 means Kuczynski now must form a new Cabinet within 72 hours. He can reappoint any of the ministers except for Zavala.
Zavala had called the vote of confidence to prevent the censure of Education Minister Marilu Martens, who had been accused of mishandling a teachers’ strike that paralyzed the public education system for more than two months.
The government, however, says the plans to oust Martens were really a move to sabotage Kuczynski’s education reform program.
Since taking office in July 2016, the president has already lost three ministers due to congressional pressure: Martens’ predecessor as education minister, Jaime Saavedra; Finance Minister Alfredo Thorne; and Transport and Communications Minister Martin Vizcarra, although the latter has remained on as vice president.
After the no-confidence vote by the unicameral Congress, led by Keiko Fujimori’s right-wing Popular Force party, Kuczynski said he respected the constitution and democracy and would proceed according to the law.
The president thanked his prime minister and the other Cabinet members and said they had worked to defend government policies beneficial for the country.
If the new Cabinet does not receive a vote of confidence, Kuczynski would have the option of dissolving Congress and calling for new legislative elections.