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Colombian president asks cabinet to resign ahead of reshuffle – sources


Colombian President Gustavo Petro attends an international conference on the political crisis in Venezuela, at Palacio de San Carlos in Bogota, Colombia April 25, 2023. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro has asked his cabinet ministers to resign, two sources told Reuters late on Tuesday, as the leftist president faces delays and opposition to his agenda, in particular a health reform.

Several ministries and Petro’s communications team did not immediately respond to requests for comment on prospects for a reshuffle.

Petro’s health reform has faced resistance in Congress and even from some of his political allies.

“I think the government should declare itself in an emergency,” Petro said at an event earlier on Tuesday evening. “That means government teams are working day and night” to lower food prices, give land to poor farmers and bring peace to the country.

He did not comment on any possible reshuffle.

A number of Petro’s ministers, including Minister of Mines and Energy Irene Velez, have faced harsh criticism over various issues since Petro took office nearly nine months ago on promises to make sweeping social and economic reforms.

Petro has largely backed his ministers, including Velez, though disagreement over the health reform proposal already lead to the exit of the education minister, Alejandro Gaviria.

Interior Minister Alfonso Prada could be take over as defense minister, said one government source who declined to be identified. Others, including Velez, could hold on to their posts, the source said.

(This story has been refiled to add dropped word ‘and’ in paragraph 1)