Peru's Cabinet chief quits, cites personal reasons

The Associated Press
Saturday, March 19, 2011; 7:53 PM

LIMA, Peru -- Peruvian President Alan Garcia announced Saturday that his Cabinet chief has resigned just three weeks before nationwide elections and four months before the end of his boss's term.

Jose Antonio Chang presented his resignation Friday for personal reasons, Garcia said, adding that "there is no crisis."

Chang, 52, was Peru's fourth Cabinet chief since September and was also minister of education. He plans to return to academic life at a university where he has been rector since 2006, Garcia said.

The president later swore in Justice Minister Rosario Fernandez to be the new Cabinet chief.

Fernandez told reporters that during her brief tenure, she will focus on ensuring the government's neutral stance during the campaign and election, as well as "an adequate transition" of power.

Fernandez, a 55-year-old lawyer, is the second woman to be Cabinet chief in Peru. She will continue to serve as minister of justice.

Garcia also promoted Education Vice Minister Victor Diaz to replace Chang in that ministry's top post.

Peruvian law dictates that when the Cabinet chief resigns, all other members must also resign and let the president decide whether to retain or replace them.

Garcia left the rest of his Cabinet intact.

© 2011 The Associated Press