Saturday, June 28

Toledo tries a bold gesture

First woman named Peru prime minister: "Beatriz Merino, the 54-year-old head of the tax agency, was sworn in as prime minister, six days after Premier Luis Solari and the cabinet resigned to allow Toledo to refresh his government's image." CNN / Reuters President Alejandro Toledo's political position in unenviable. Lima rumor mills are now opening circulating conjecture about how he might leave office ahead of time, call emergency elections, convoke a high-profile figure (Mario Vargas Llosa, heaven forbid!) for a care-taker government, and you can imagine what else. So Toledo digs into the hat for a political first, a woman as prime minister. Merino came to public attention in the 1990 campaign when she was a legislative candidate on Vargas Llosa's ticket. I think she got elected.

On the other hand, Toledo retained Javier Silva Ruete as the finance minister. He bumped out five minister, plus Solari the Prime Minister. Keeping Silva Ruete was to reassure the outside world that economic policy would not undergo a major overhaul. Also see the BBC Peru's first woman PM sworn in.

But in his speech, Toledo blamed the Fujimori government for having left the country in rubble. You can't do that two years into your term. It's all right in your inauguration -- every president has done it since 1980.

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