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Former leftist governor named new premier

Latest update : 2008-10-12

Peruvian President Alan Garcia named Yehude Simon, the leftist governor of the northern Lambayeque region, as his new prime minister Saturday after an oil scandal forced a cabinet reshuffle.

Peruvian President Alan Garcia on Saturday named Yehude Simon, a leftist governor once jailed for alleged links to outlawed Tupac Amaru rebels, as the country's next prime minister.
Simon, 61, will replace outgoing prime minister Jorge del Castillo, who resigned Friday along with Garcia's entire 13-member cabinet in a bid to avert an opposition censure resolution in Congress over an oil-industry kickback scandal.
An independent leftist politician of Palestinian descent, Simon is currently governor of the northern Lambayeque region.
Garcia said Simon accepted the post, and that he would ask Simon "to establish a broad-base government... and incorporate regional personalities."
The president said that one of Simon's main tasks will be to "absolutely eradicate corruption."
Simon, who could take office as early as Monday, was imprisoned for eight years during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori for allegedly condoning the activities of the leftist Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) guerrillas.
He was pardoned in 2000 soon after Fujimori fled to Japan and resigned the presidency, and had a successful career in politics starting in 2002.
The kickback scandal that resulted in Del Castillo's resignation was sparked October 5 when nine audio tapes of closed-door negotiations between government officials, a former congressman and a top oil baron aired on television.
The political crisis coincides with Garcia's very low, 20 percent approval rating in opinion polls. Garcia is mid-way through his second five-year term in office, which ends in 2011, after serving as president in 1985-1990.

Date created : 2008-10-12