22-07-2021 Latin American Weekly Report
Chile’s presidential frontrunners knocked out of race before it gets going
Not for the first time Peru’s President Pedro Castillo’s attempt to regain the initiative by announcing a major reform proposal has been completely overshadowed by political developments. On 6 October Castillo replaced his prime minister, Guido Bellido, and six cabinet ministers. Replacing Bellido, an unreconstructed Marxist under investigation for alleged ‘apology for terrorism’, with a predilection for misogynistic and confrontational remarks, with a moderate leftist feminist lawyer and advocate of gender equality, Mirtha Vásquez, looked like a statement of intent. Judging by the fierce criticism of Perú Libre (PL), the far-left party that brought Castillo to power, it has interpreted the move as an attempt by the head of state to cut himself loose from its Marxist-Leninist leader Vladimir Cerrón. This will play well to the opposition-controlled congress, but it will not suddenly begin supporting Castillo, and estranged relations with PL could leave him isolated and struggling to advance a legislative agenda.
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