Peru's entire cabinet offers to resign over corruption allegations

The entire Peruvian cabinet handed in their resignations en masse to President Alan Garcia on Thursday over corruption allegations, dpa reported.

Jorge del Castillo, head of the Peruvian Council of Ministers, and all the cabinet members offered to resign at a time when Congress is making progress on a vote of no-confidence against them.

A rare union of opposition legislators is likely to allow the no- confidence vote to pass with 70 votes in favour, when only 61 are required, analysts said.

Legislators refused to listen to Del Castillo and his ministers on Thursday and asked them to address Congress on Tuesday, the day of the no-confidence motion.

The Peruvian government was severely weakened Sunday, after a TV programme aired a recorded conversation between a lobbyist and a state official in charge of granting oil contracts about plans to favour a Norwegian firm in exchange for bribes.

Both men are members of the ruling Aprista Party. The Norwegian firm Discover Petroleum was granted five contracts.

Energy Minister Juan Valdivia resigned immediately, while Del Castillo and the other ministers followed his lead Thursday, leaving the final decision in the hands of President Garcia.

Analysts said the president was likely to accept the resignations to avoid a defeat in the legislature.

Garcia defined himself as a social democrat during his campaign. But his government has achieved one of the highest rates of economic growth in Latin America through conservative economic policies.

Many Peruvians - 44 per cent live in poverty - complain that they do not enjoy the benefits of this economic boom.

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