Peru Prime Minister Fernando Zavala will be appointed finance minister and remain in his current post at the head of centrist President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s cabinet, two government sources told Reuters on Thursday. Zavala, a former executive at brewer SABMiller who served as finance minister in 2005 and 2006 when Kuczynski was prime minister, will be sworn in on Friday, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as an official announcement had not been made.
Zavala will only be finance minister temporarily, said one of the sources. The cabinet shuffle follows an overwhelming vote of no-confidence that the opposition-controlled Congress delivered to outgoing Finance Minister Alfredo Thorne on Wednesday after an audio recording surfaced in which he appeared to pressure the comptroller to approve a controversial project.
Earlier on Thursday, Kuczynski did not rule out that Zavala might replace Thorne following a report by local newspaper El Comercio that it was under consideration. “I can think of several ministers in the past that have been prime ministers while running a ministry. It wouldn’t be the first time if it does happen,” Kuczynski told reporters.
Zavala, 46, will be tasked with reviving slumping investments in the world’s second-biggest copper producer while trying to ease growing tensions with the rightwing opposition. Kuczynski, a 78-year-old former Wall Street banker, took office nearly a year ago with plans to bolster economic growth through infrastructure development and lower taxes, but a graft scandal involving Brazilian builder Odebrecht and the worst flooding in at least 20 years have derailed those plans.