Peruvian Prime Minister Aníbal Torres resigns

Torres resigned from his position on August 3 citing personal reasons. During his tenure, Torres assumed a strong position in defense of the Pedro Castillo government in the face of countless attacks from the right-wing opposition sectors

August 04, 2022 by Tanya Wadhwa
Aníbal Torres resigns Peru
Peruvian President Pedro Castillo (L) and Prime Minister Aníbal Torres during the inauguration of his fourth cabinet on February 8. (Photo: Peruvian Presidency/Twitter)

Peru’s Prime Minister and the head of the Council of Ministers, Aníbal Torres, resigned from his position on Wednesday, August 3, after holding it for almost six months.

In his resignation letter, which he published on Twitter, Torres said that he was stepping down due to personal reasons. He thanked President Pedro Castillo for trusting him “first as the Minister of Justice and then as the Prime Minister.” He said that he served the “most neglected and forgotten people, together with the president.” He also said that he would return to university teaching and legal research. He concluded the letter by wishing his friend, President Castillo, the greatest success in his management.

Torres was Castillo’s fourth prime minister. He took office on February 8, after the previous prime minister, Hector Valer, was forced to resign just four days after taking office due to a smear campaign in mainstream media backed by far-right legislators. Previously, Torres served as the Minister of Justice and Human Rights in Castillo’s government. Torres was one of few members of Castillo’s cabinet who had been with him since his inauguration in late July 2021. During his time as prime minister, Torres assumed a strong position in defense of the Castillo administration in the face of countless attacks from the right-wing opposition sectors.

Torres’ resignation, which automatically prompted the resignation of the entire cabinet, has triggered another cabinet reshuffle, and the head of state once again faces the challenge of putting together a new cabinet. President Castillo still has to accept Torres’ resignation to make it official.

In conversation with Exitosa Noticias, Francis Paredes, congresswoman from the Magisterial Bloc of the left-wing Free Peru party, said that she hoped that Torres would back down on his decision to resign from office and remain a member of the Executive Branch. “The president will evaluate [this situation] because he has not yet accepted the resignation. We hope that the Prime Minister can make a decision today, that it is best for the country, and he can continue to hold office,” said Paredes. “I am convinced [that he will continue in his position] because he is one of the most outstanding technical staff in the government,” she added.

Paredes stressed that Torres’ departure is not convenient for the president due to the political crisis that his government is going through. “We are aware that the departure of Prime Minister Aníbal Torres at this political stage would not be convenient when we know that the government faces attacks from the opposition.” she said. “We ratify that Mr. Aníbal Torres has been doing a very important job within this position,” she added.

The legislator added that in the event that Torres decides not to continue, then “the person who is chosen must come thinking that he will work for all Peruvians.”

Congressman Guillermo Bermejo of the Democratic Peru party also said that Torres should continue as the head of the cabinet. “Let Aníbal Torres stay, because he has shown loyalty and commitment to the process. And because he is a headache for the coup plotters and the hired press,” tweeted Bermejo.

Congressman Alex Flores of the Free Peru party also praised Torres’ tenure. “Aníbal Torres was an insurmountable barrier to the prowling coup of a Congress controlled by Fujimorists and their operators,” wrote Flores in a tweet. He added that “the president must appoint a prime minister with a profile twice as firm as Torres’ to face the looming coup and return [the government] to the left.”

The Castillo administration, which completed one year in office on July 28, has been constantly attacked by the country’s right-wing forces. In the past year, Castillo has had five investigations opened against him accusing him of allegedly committing various crimes. He has also faced and survived two vacancy motions. He has been forced to reshuffle his cabinet three times, and has changed over three dozen ministers over disputes and disagreements with the Congress. During these months, the Congress has impeached at least three ministers and presented a motion of censure against two dozen ministers.