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Peru president eyes Cabinet changes after Fujimori pardon: minister

NewsWorld365 NewsWorld365 , December 28, 2017
Demonstrators protest against pardon of former President Alberto Fujimori in Lima, Peru, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski announced Sunday night that he granted a medical pardon to the jailed former strongman who was serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses, corruption and the sanctioning of death squads. The poster reads in spanih: "Assassin, Thief, Not to pardon".(AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Peru’s center-right President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski may reshuffle his Cabinet in coming days, after triggering an outcry by pardoning former authoritarian leader Alberto Fujimori, the prime minister announced on Wednesday.

Mercedes Araoz said Kuczynski, a 79-year-old former Wall Street investor, had asked her to remain at the helm of the Cabinet and to look for ways to strengthen it.

“The president asked me to carry out a comprehensive review and we’ll see what happens in coming days,” Araoz said at a press conference, her first public appearance since the pardon on Christmas Eve.

In the past two weeks, the political situation in top metals exporter Peru has turned suddenly volatile, after the opposition-ruled Congress sought to oust Kuczynski in the wake of a graft scandal.

Kuczynski was saved from the vote by Fujimori loyalists. Two days later, he pardoned the ailing Fujimori, sparking violent protests and political resignations as opponents alleged the pardon was payback for keeping Kuczynski in office.

It was not clear which ministers may be vulnerable in any reshuffle, but a shake-up could herald a new rightward turn for Kuczynski’s government, as Kuczynski’s former left-leaning supporters denounced him as a “traitor” for pardoning Fujimori.

There was no plan to replace Finance Minister Claudia Cooper, a government source said.

Fujimori was in stable condition at a hospital in Lima, where he was rushed from prison on Saturday to undergo treatment for life-threatening blood pressure and heart problems, according to his doctor.

Araoz said she respected Kuczynski’s decision to pardon Fujimori, and stressed he had been evaluating it long before the vote to oust him in Congress.

“Neither I nor any member of my Cabinet nor the ruling party Peruvians for Change took part in any negotiation to trade a humanitarian pardon (for votes)”, said Araoz.

Reuters Online News

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