The new president of the Council of Ministers sought the endorsement of Congress on 4 April for his cabinet’s programme of activity. Under the constitution, a new cabinet is obliged to seek a vote of confidence within 30 days of being sworn in.

In the event, Congress voted to give its support to the new cabinet and its programme. 46 members voted in favour, 27 against, with 21 abstentions.
In a relatively short speech (just over an hour), Salvador de Solar made clear that he would concentrate on five key issues, namely:

  1. The campaign against corruption in government
  2. The strengthening of the institutions of government
  3. Equitable growth designed to strengthen competition
  4. Social development and increased welfare
  5. Decentralisation geared to boost development

In short, the main declared priorities would remain very similar to those of previous cabinets. Perhaps a touch ambitious, he declared “we will change history”.

He went on to say that he would be presenting a number of bills designed to reform the political system. Two weeks ago, Fernando Tuesta presented his commission’s recommendations. “We hope the Congress will discuss these in a reasonable period of time” he said. He went on to allude to judicial reforms which have yet to receive the attention of Congress.

He also made mention of the government’s commitment to an equal gender policy, alluding to a ruling of the Supreme Court the previous day that rejected an appeal against policies to promote gender equality in schools.

Finally, he criticized the congressional sub-commission of constitutional accusations for rejecting the merits of the case concerning the former chief public prosecutor Pedro Chávarry, accused of interfering with an investigation into political corruption. A majority on the sub-commission belong to Fuerza Popular (FP). Chávarry was supposedly present when his subordinates raided an office embargoed by another prosecutor.

In the debate that followed, the government received criticisms for its handling of the Las Bambas dispute. However if the deal there sticks (see previous article), it will redound to del Solar’s credit. Fujimoristas and their allies also used the occasion to denounce, once again, the government’s gender equality programme in education.