Peru's President-Elect Reveals Cabinet Stacked With Technocrats

Peru's incoming cabinet under Pedro Pablo Kuczynski will have five women and several trained economists.

Peru's President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski delivers a speech during a business summit at the XI Summit of the Pacific Alliance in Frutillar, Chile June 30, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Cristobal Saavedra.

Peru’s President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski delivers a speech during a business summit at the XI Summit of the Pacific Alliance in Frutillar, Chile June 30. Credit: Reuters/Cristobal Saavedra.

Lima: Peru‘s President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski listed his incoming ministers on July 15, in a cabinet stacked with technocrats but thin on experienced politicians who might help him broker deals with an opposition-controlled Congress.

The 77-year-old former investment banker, who was prime minister under ex-president Alejandro Toledo, shrugged off concerns that his first cabinet lacked savvy political operators and said it would aim to deliver results.

“We’re turning the page. What we want is modern politics based on qualified people,” Kuczynski, a centrist, said in his first press conference since beating his run-off rival Keiko Fujimori by just tens of thousands of votes last month.

Taking few questions, Kuczynski said he deliberately did not tap any of his party’s 18 lawmakers-elect for the 19-member cabinet because he needs them in Congress, where Fujimori’s right-wing populist party will hold a solid majority with 73 seats.

“This is a team with the capacity for dialogue and agreement and commitment to Peru,” said Kuczynski’s incoming prime minister Fernando Zavala, a 45-year-old former finance minister who was most recently the chief executive for beer company SABMiller’s local unit.

Zavala, whom Kuczynski announced as his pick for prime minister on July 10, said the team would work to meet demands for safer streets, more jobs and less corruption.

Kuczynski takes office July 28, replacing outgoing President Ollanta Humala, a former military officer who shed allies throughout a five-year term that will likely end with the lowest approval rating of any recent leader.

Kuczynski previously announced that Alfredo Thorne, a former director at JPMorgan Chase, would be his finance minister.

The incoming cabinet will have five women and several trained economists, including consultant Gonzalo Tamayo as energy and mines minister and academic Elsa Galarza as environment minister. Reuters reported July 12 that Kuczynski would appoint the two.

Career diplomat Ricardo Luna, a former ambassador to the US and the UN, will be foreign relations minister. Martin Vizcarra, Kuczynski’s vice president and a former governor of a mining region, will be transportation and communications minister.

Fujimori, daughter of imprisoned former authoritarian leader Alberto Fujimori, has yet to meet with Kuczynski, who has said that she has rebuffed his efforts to reach her by phone.

The frosty relationship between the two could thwart Kuczynski’s plan to ask Congress to give him powers to legislate his economic reforms, including proposals to ease taxes and roll out new infrastructure projects.