efe-epaLima

Peru's Second Vice President, Mercedes Araoz, an economist by training, was sworn in on Sunday as the new head of the Council of Ministers - known as the prime minister - formed by 13 members of the cabinet and headed to date by fellow economist Fernando Zavala.

Araoz, 56, took the oath of office before President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski at a ceremony held at the Government Palace in Lima, where five other new ministers were also sworn in and another 13 such appointments were confirmed by the president.

In addition to the prime minister, Kuczynski also changed his ministers of Economy and Finance, Education, Health, Justice and Human Rights and Housing and Construction.

The Economy and Finance portfolio was taken over by the heretofore deputy minister in that department, Claudia Cooper, while Education is to be headed by former deputy minister Idel Vexler and Justice by the former head of the judicial branch, Enrique Mendoza.

Government lawmaker Carlos Bruce was appointed Housing and Construction minister, a post he held during th 2001-2006 mandate of Alejandro Toledo, and Rear Adm. Fernando D'Alessio took over at the Health Ministry.

In addition, Kuczynski ratified the following ministerial appointments: Ricardo Luna at the Foreign Relations Ministry, Jorge Nieto at Defense, Carlos Basombrio at Interior, Salvador del Solar at Culture, Alfonso Grados at Labor, Jose Manuel Hernandez at Agriculture, Pedro Olaechea at Production, Eduardo Ferreyros at Foreign Trade and Tourism and Cayetana Aljovin at Energy and Mines.

He also confirmed Bruno Giuffra at Transportation and Communication, Ana Maria Choquehuanca at Women and Vulnerable Populations, Elsa Galarza at Environment and Fiorella Molinelli at Development and Social Inclusion.

The new Cabinet over which Araoz will preside - the fourth woman to head the Peruvian body - took office after the Fujimori opposition-controlled Congress last Thursday refused to agree to the vote of confidence Zavala had requested to try and prevent the ouster of Education Minister Marilu Martens.