Peru finance minister vows to resign if Congress disapproves of him


UPDATE 1-Peru finance minister vows to resign if Congress disapproves of him

(Adds quote from minister, context)
    LIMA, June 19 (Reuters) - Peru's finance minister vowed on
Monday to resign if the opposition-controlled Congress did not
renew its confidence in him in a vote that he formally
requested, paving a path to a conciliatory departure of one of
the president's closest cabinet members.
    Opposition lawmakers from across the political spectrum have
called for Alfredo Thorne to step down since he appeared, in a
leaked audio recording, to ask the comptroller to approve an
airport contract in exchange for a bigger budget. [nL1N1JD0YC]
    Thorne has denied that he was pressuring the comptroller and
said on Sunday that he would not resign as lawmakers threatened
to censure him. [nL1N1JF09E]
    But on Monday he formally asked the president of Congress to
schedule a vote of confidence on him after he answered
lawmakers' questions on Friday about the controversy.
    "If Congress renews its confidence in me we will continue to
work together to move the country forward as we have been doing.
Otherwise I'll immediately step aside," Thorne said in a video
released by his office.
    Opposition lawmakers could reject his request to hold a vote
of confidence and force him from office with a censure vote
instead, but they would risk escalating tensions with centrist
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski who could demand a vote that
would bring him closer to being able to call for a new
congressional election.
    Kuczynski said Friday that he had a plan in place in case
Thorne were forced to leave, and that he had full confidence in
    A former JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N> executive, Thorne was
one of Kuczynski's top campaign advisors when he defied
expectations and narrowly beat rival Keiko Fujimori in last
year's presidential election. [nL1N1912BT][nL1N1921IA]
    Fujimori's party has a majority in Peru's single-chamber
Congress while Kuczynski's party holds just 17 of 130 seats.

 (Reporting by Mitra Taj and Teresa Cespedes; Editing by
Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang)
 ((; +52 1 55-5414-6235; Reuters


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