Peru's president appoints new PM
Peru's President Alan Garcia has appointed a leftist regional governor, Yehude Simon, as his prime minister, BBC reports.
Mr Garcia's choice appears to be a move intended to regain public trust after Friday's resignation of his entire cabinet over an oil corruption scandal.
It also seems intended to neutralise leftist critics of Mr Garcia - whose popularity has dropped to a new low.
But the choice of Mr Simon, who served a time in jail for alleged links to left-wing rebels, has shocked many.
He had been under tremendous pressure to shake up his cabinet after audio tapes leaked to the media implicated members of the governing Apra party in bribe-taking for rigging multi-million dollar oil contracts.
Former Prime Minister Jorge del Castillo was mentioned in two of the tapes.
He denied any wrongdoing, but his position became untenable after protests from the opposition and general public.
The new prime minister, 61, said he wanted to build an alliance between the left and the government.
"I have no doubt that businessmen of the so-called right will also draw near. The country needs a truce."
A popular regional governor of the northern province of Lambayeque, Mr Simon has a reputation for transparency and for improving healthcare and education standards.
He was pardoned after serving eight years in prison in the 1990s on suspicion of belonging to the Tupac Amaru revolutionary movement.
The movement was the smaller of two rebel groups which wreaked havoc in Peru for two decades.
Critics say booming economic growth has failed to ease poverty for millions of Peruvians, while polls say corruption is the public's top complaint.
Midway through his term as president, Mr Garcia's popularity is at its lowest level since he took office, especially outside the capital Lima.
Mr Simon's appointment may just be the radical step needed to restore the government's reputation.