Peru’s new President Francisco Sagasti suffered the second resignation of an interior minister in a week as Fernando Aliaga quit shortly after questioning the dismissal of the police leadership over a deadly crackdown on protests.
Aliaga had presented his letter of resignation, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers said late Monday, December 7, without giving further details.
His resignation came after just 5 days in the post, following the resignation of his predecessor Ruben Vargas, who himself spent only 14 days heading the interior ministry.
Later Monday Sagasti appointed Jose Manuel Elice Navarro as minister in a ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
Elice is Peru’s seventh interior minister so far this year, a reflection of the acute political crisis the country is going through.
The upheaval at the ministry comes amid discontent among the police over the dismissal of 18 generals after the violent repression of pro-democracy protests on November 14, which left two people dead and more than a hundred injured.
The government a week ago said the commanders had been dismissed to restore public confidence in the police.
Sagasti also announced a reform of the force, which has been punctuated by allegations of corruption.
Hours before he resigned, Aliaga had gone to Congress to defend the police action and blame protesters attacking riot police for the violence of November 14.
“You cannot tolerate or allow attacks on the police with weapons that are lethal and very dangerous, such as stones and other projectiles,” he told the lawmakers.
The protests were against president Manuel Merino, who resigned the day after the deadly crackdown.
“Do you know why the Minister of the Interior resigned? Today in the Justice Commission of Congress he presented videos showing that infiltrators beat police and the government hid those videos,” Merino said on Twitter.
The disagreements between the minister and Sagasti came to the fore on Sunday when Aliaga said on television that he disagreed with the removal of the police leadership.
Sagasti was sworn on November 16 to serve as interim president until the end of July 2021, completing the mandate of Martin Vizcarra, whose impeachment by Congress set off the snowballing crisis.
Former Congress speaker Merino assumed office after Vizcarra’s impeachment but was forced to resign after just 5 days in office following the deadly street protests. – Rappler.com
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