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    Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski attends the 131st IOC session in Lima, Peru, September 14, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 September 2017

The Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski faces one of the biggest political crises of his presidency.

Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’ has hinted that he will appoint his Vice President Martin Vizcarra as the nation's new Prime Minister in a cabinet reshuffle on Sunday.

Kuczynski has been forced to make the changes following a vote of no-confidence by the nation's Congress.

It gave him 72 hours to name a new cabinet and seek an approval vote. 

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The president is also considering Claudia Cooper as his new finance minister, sources told Reuters.

Speaking in a televised address, Kuczynski accused the opposition of undermining his policies.

Earlier, the country's Congress, where the opposition party Popular Force has a majority, voted 77-22 to dismiss the cabinet after Prime Minister Fernando Zavala requested a confidence vote. There were only 16 abstentions.

As the country faces one of the largest teacher strikes in its history, the legislative body announced this week a vote to remove Education Minister Marilu Martens, a decision which Zavala fought against.

The crisis forced the president to suspend his trips to the United States and Italy, where he was scheduled to meet U.S. President Donald Trump, speak at the U.N. General Assembly and meet Pope Francis at the Vatican.

During the debate in Congress, the 78-year-old former Wall Street banker was called an "out-of-touch lobbyist" who lacks authority and "poses a danger to Peru".

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Popular Force is led by Keiko Fujimori, a former presidential candidate who lost against Kuczynski in a close election in 2016. Her father, the former President Alberto Fujimori, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for corruption and crimes against humanity.

Keiko holds 73 of the 130 seats in Congress, while Kuczynski only has 18 with his party, Peruanos Por el Kambio.

Congress forced some of Kuczynski’s key ministers out following corruption allegations and no-confidence votes.

They include Mariano Gonzalez in Defense, Martin Vizcarra in Transportation and Communication, Alfredo Thorne in Economy and Jaime Saavedra in Education, who was replaced by Marilu Martens.

Their terms had been due to end in 2021.

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