Peru gets new prime minister
October 12, 2008 - Los Angeles Times (AP)

LIMA, PERU -- President Alan Garcia announced Saturday that he has appointed a leftist governor as Peru's prime minister, a day after the entire Cabinet resigned amid a brewing oil kickbacks scandal.

Longtime politician Yehude Simon, 61, will replace outgoing Prime Minister Jorge del Castillo, Garcia said.

Simon said that two of the officials who resigned, Foreign Minister Garcia Belaunde and Trade Minister Mercedes Araoz, will retain their posts in the new, multiparty Cabinet. Garcia did not confirm that in his statement.

Garcia, whose approval rating hit a low of 19% prior to the scandal, mostly because of rising inflation, must rebuild his administration in the midst of a global financial crisis and a month before leaders from 21 countries gather here for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Simon served as a lawmaker for the United Left party from 1985 to 1990 during Garcia's first administration. He went to prison for alleged links to leftist Tupac Amaru guerrillas, but was pardoned in 2000 and elected governor of Lambayeque province in 2003.