Anibal Torres resigns after challenging the opposition-controlled Congress to a confidence vote.

Leftist Peruvian president Pedro Castillo has accepted the resignation of its prime minister and will once again reshuffle his cabinet amid a protracted battle between the executive and legislature.

Former Prime Minister Anibal Torres, a staunch ally of Castillo, had last week challenged the opposition-controlled Congress to a confidence vote. But Congress declined to hold such a vote on Thursday, arguing that conditions had not been met.

“After accepting the resignation of the Prime Minister, whom I thank for his work on behalf of the country, I will renew the cabinet,” Castillo said in a national television broadcast.

The confidence vote challenge was designed to put pressure on Congress amid tense relations between the two branches of government.

Opposition lawmakers impeached Castillo twice but failed to remove him, though they succeeded in censoring and firing several cabinet members.

“I call on Congress to respect the rule of law, the rights of the people, democracy and the balance of state powers,” Castillo said.

His presidency was marked by a turnover in senior government positions. Castillo will now nominate a fifth prime minister – his top adviser and spokesman – since taking office last July.

Confidence votes are controversial in Peru because they can have significant consequences. If Congress had passed a vote of no confidence, Torres and the entire cabinet would have forced to resign.

But a new cabinet could then call for a second vote of confidence which, if also rejected, would allow the executive branch to close Congress and call new parliamentary elections.

Last week, Torres said he would interpret the failure to vote as the equivalent of a vote of no confidence.

Castillo stopped short of saying Congress had passed a vote of no confidence, though at least one close ally, former Commerce Secretary Roberto Sanchez, said the lawmaker’s decision meant confidence was withheld.

In 2019, then Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra shut down Congress and called for new elections after two votes of no confidence.

Congress then passed a law limiting the situations that merit confidence votes, which is now being tested for the first time.

Tensions between the various branches of the Peruvian government are common, and Peruvians have lived under five different presidents since 2016.

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