Peru names actor Salvador del Solar as PM amid cabinet shakeup

Salvador del Solar's appointment is part of a cabinet reshuffle to boost President Vizcarra's approval ratings.

    Salvador del Solar (L) served as culture minister under the previous government but is better known for his screen roles [Guadalupe Pardo/Reuters]
    Salvador del Solar (L) served as culture minister under the previous government but is better known for his screen roles [Guadalupe Pardo/Reuters]

    Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra has sworn in actor and former Culture Minister Salvador del Solar as his new prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle aimed at shoring up his slipping approval ratings.

    The move on Monday comes days after former Prime Minister Cesar Villanueva stepped down amid calls for a government shakeup. 

    Vizcarra chose to keep Finance Minister Carlos Oliva and Energy and Mines Minister Francisco Ismodes in their posts but changed eight other ministers, including the production and agriculture ministers. 

    Del Solar, 48, has degrees in law and international relations but is best known for his roles in Spanish-language films and television series, including a turn as a priest in Netflix's drugs drama, Narcos.

    He served as Peru's culture minister for about a year under former-President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who resigned last March amid a region-wide corruption scandal.

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    Vizcarra, a former vice president, was sworn in as president shortly after. 

    Peruvian presidents often reshuffle their cabinets when approval ratings fall, though all recent presidents have ended their terms widely unpopular. 

    Vizcarra's approval rating rose to a high of 66 percent in January after he confronted the opposition-controlled Congress to push for anti-corruption measures, which had passed easily in a national referendum in December.

    Corruption is seen as rife in Peru, where the last five former presidents have either been jailed on corruption charges or are currently under investigation for fraud. 

    Opposition leader Keiko Fujimori is also embroiled in an ongoing corruption investigation. 

    In February, Vizcarra faced criticism for travelling to Spain and Portugal on a state visit instead of visiting regions affected by flooding and landslides.

    His approval rating dropped to 56 percent in March. 

    Despite bouts of political turmoil, Peru has been one of Latin America's most stable and fastest-growing economies this century.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies