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Peru Cabinet Wins Confidence Vote, Ruling Party’s Abugattas Says

Peruvian cabinet chief Rene Cornejo won a vote of confidence from Congress amid widespread abstentions by opposition lawmakers who accuse President Ollanta Humala of allowing the first lady undue influence over his government.

Legislators voted 47-0 in favor with 71 abstentions in an initial vote, and 42-6 with 73 abstentions in a second. That ballot serves as a vote of confidence as it met the requirement for at least five opposing votes to become official, said Daniel Abugattas, a congressman with Humala’s Nationalist party.

Cornejo was appointed Feb. 24 to replace Cesar Villanueva who quit after Humala’s wife, Nationalist President Nadine Heredia, contradicted him over a possible minimum wage increase. The entire cabinet, Humala’s fifth since taking office in July 2011, would have had to resign had it lost the vote of confidence.

Humala brought in former World Bank and Barclays Plc economists to bolster the cabinet and revive an economy hurt by a slump in copper prices over the past year.

Cornejo, who served as housing minister since Humala took office in July 2011, is a former head of Peru’s private investment promotion agency, Proinversion. Other new faces include Energy and Mines Minister Eleodoro Mayorga, a former World Bank oil economist, and Production Minister Piero Ghezzi, former head of global economics at Barclays Plc’s investment-banking unit.

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