On 10 March a new cabinet was sworn in, the second one put together by President Martín Vizcarra who will soon be a year in post. Seven new ministers were incorporated, all women, making this the second cabinet in Peru’s history to achieve gender parity. There are some key players returning to government and several people taking up their first appointment. The Premier is Salvador del Solar, who was Minister of Culture during the Kuczynski administration, but who resigned after Alberto Fujimori was pardoned. Del Solar is well known as an actor and director, but he is also a trained lawyer and he spent the semester before taking the post as a visiting scholar at Harvard.
Traditionally headed by a woman, the women’s ministry will come under the direction of Gloria Montenegro, a congresswoman from Alianza Para el Progreso (APP), the party of the outgoing premier Cesar Villanueva. At Culture Ulla Holmquist has been appointed; she is an archaeologist who has experience as the head of two important museums and will be tasked with several difficult issues, such as the proposed airport at Chinchero in Cuzco, which is under scrutiny as it risks destroying the area, and the beleaguered National Archive, still awaiting a new building. Flor Pablo Medina will be the new Minister of Education, having served under Jaime Saavedra as the Director of the Lima education authority. Paola Bustamante will return to head the Ministry of Social Development, which she oversaw during the Humala administration. Fabiola Muñoz will leave the Ministry of the Environment and will take over the Ministry of Agriculture, an appointment that has been criticised citing her lack of experience in the sector, though she worked in that capacity as joint director of the US Forestry Service Program, part of US cooperation. She will be replaced by Lucia Ruiz Ostoic, her deputy in the Ministry of the Environment. Rocio Barrios, who was Vice-minister of Fisheries under the Humala administration, will take over the Ministry of Production. The Ministries of Work and Health will continue under the direction of the previous ministers, Sylvia Caceres and ZulemaTomás, respectively.
The only new man to come to the cabinet is Carlos Bruce who will head the Ministry of Housing. He has held this position before during the Toledo administration, as well as during Kuczynski’s tenure. The naming of ministers who have worked with previous regimes, especially those of Humala and Toledo, has been seen as a provocation by the Fujimoristas, who have described the cabinet as being against them. The fact that so many women have been appointed has also been seen with suspicion by those who believe there should be no extra advantages given to women. Salvador de Solar saw it as an imperative to have parity in the cabinet and has announced that he and his ministers will work hard to continue with the anti-corruption agenda.