* Humala seen naming human rights lawyer to lead cabinet
* Finance minister likely to stay on
(Adds mining minister likely to stay)
LIMA, July 23 President Ollanta Humala has
picked Justice Minister Juan Jimenez to be his prime minister,
two well-placed sources said on Monday, as the Peruvian leader
tries to calm a wave of violent anti-mining protests.
Jimenez, known in Peru as a human rights lawyer, will
replace Oscar Valdes, a former army officer who led a crackdown
on protesters opposed to Newmont Mining's $5 billion
Conga project in the northern region of Cajamarca that killed
five people this month.
Valdes, a former army officer, said via Twitter he was
stepping down in a widely expected move. He led a crackdown this
month on protesters opposed to Newmont Mining's $5
billion Conga project in the northern region of Cajamarca that
killed five people.
"Dear friends, I wanted to share with you the end of my turn
as the head of the Cabinet, thanking you for your support and
constructive criticism," Valdes tweeted.
Peru's constitution requires all ministers to offer their
resignations whenever a prime minister quits, though Humala will
likely reappoint Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla, a
favorite of investors. Mines and Energy Minister Jorge Merino
will stay in his post.
Besides Valdes, Interior Minister Wilver Calle is expected
to be replaced, one of the sources said.
Promoting Jimenez, who served as vice justice minister in
the government that led Peru's transition to democracy in 2000,
may help Humala overcome criticism that his government developed
a militant, authoritarian streak under Valdes.
Prominent members of Congress have called for Valdes to step
down and say the government should emphasize mediation instead
of force to solve environmental disputes.
However, a Jimenez-led Cabinet may not pacify regional
government leaders who have led anti-mining protests and say
Humala has turned his back on the rural poor who voted for him
by abandoning his leftist ideals and drifting to the right.
Jimenez backed Humala's decision to suspend civil liberties
in Cajamarca, where human rights groups have sharply criticized
the government's use of force.
Humala has sought to push ahead with more than $50 billion
in planned mining investments in one of Latin America's
fastest-growing economies, but has faced stiff resistance from
poor rural communities left behind by a decade-long boom.
Peruvian leaders often shuffle their Cabinets on July 28,
Peruvian Independence Day, which also will mark the anniversary
of Humala's first year in office. Humala's approval rating fell
to a fresh low of 40 percent this month, according to an Ipsos
Humala replaced half of his Cabinet in December, when he
promoted Valdes from interior minister to prime minister as he
sought to quell protests with a firmer, more law-and-order tone.
(Reporting By Patricia Velez and Marco Aquino; Writing by Terry
Wade; Editing by David Brunnstrom, Philip Barbara and Jackie