LIMA Ė A Harvard-trained female economist and an opera singer-turned politician are the most noteworthy new faces in the Cabinet installed Thursday by Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra in the wake of his decision to dissolve the opposition-controlled Congress and schedule new elections.
Maria Antonieta Alva, 34, becomes Peruís youngest economy minister, while 57-year-old Francisco Petrozzi takes charge of the culture ministry.
The Cabinet shuffle follows Vizcarraís announcement late Monday that he was dissolving Congress in response to what his administration interpreted as a vote of no-confidence by lawmakers.
Then-Prime Minister Salvador del Solar resigned after Congress voted down his proposal to adopt formal procedures for naming judges to the Constitutional Court instead of packing the tribunal with political allies of the dominant parties in the legislature.
Vizcarra, who acceded to the presidency when elected head of state Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki stepped down accused of corruption, has made fighting official misconduct the centerpiece of his program and says that those efforts would be jeopardized by the appointment of judges whose first loyalty is to their political sponsors.
While the decision to dissolve Congress and call elections for Jan. 26 is popular among ordinary Peruvians, opposition lawmakers vow to fight.
The main opposition party, the rightist Fuerza Popular, is led by Keiko Fujimori, daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori, who is now serving a prison sentence for graft and human rights abuses during his 1990-2000 rule.
Petrozzi, an artist successful in both classical and popular music who has also been a television personality, was elected to Congress in 2016 on the Fuerza Popular list, but quit the party last year.
Other additions to the Cabinet led by Prime Minister Vicente Zeballos include diplomat Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, who leaves his post as Peruís ambassador to the United Nations to head the foreign ministry.
Retired Gen. Walter Martos is the new defense minister and an attorney with experience carrying out investigations, Ana Teresa Revilla, will run the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.
The agriculture, mining, transportation, housing and development portfolios were assigned to five men with engineering backgrounds.
In April, former President Alan Garcia, who governed Peru from 1985 to 1990 and again from 2006 to 2011, fatally shot himself when police came to his home to arrest him on corruption charges.
Three other ex-presidents: Kuczynski, Ollanta Humala and Alejandro Toledo, are also accused of corruption, as is Keiko Fujimori, a two-time presidential candidate.