The ministries of finance, agriculture, interior, health, science, technology, and transportation were all dismissed on Wednesday.
Following the first debate on the government’s health reform, Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced Wednesday that his dismissal of the ministers of finance, agriculture, interior, health, science, technology, and transportation, and the appointment of new ministers to the cabinet to “accelerate changes” in the republic.
After Petro announced that he had lost his majority coalition in Congress, two sources told Reuters on Tuesday that the president requested his cabinet ministers resign ahead of reshuffle.
Petro’s decision came after deep disagreement emerged in Colombia’s House of Representatives when the debate on the president’s contentious health reform was canceled due to a lack of quorum. Some members of the government’s coalition warned they would vote against the original bill.
On Twitter, Petro said “The political coalition agreed as a majority has ended today due to decisions of some party presidents,” and in a subsequent tweet added that “such a situation leads us to a rethinking of the government.”
A statement by his office circulated on social media details that “The government program includes a roadmap for implementing the changes millions of Colombians backed in a vote … We reaffirm our commitment to always be faithful to the mandate we have received from the people, and we have decided to make changes in the composition of the government to strengthen our program.”
Ricardo Bonilla was named finance minister, Jhenifer Mojica as agriculture minister, Luis Fernando Velasco as interior minister, Guillermo Alfonso as health minister, Yesenia Olaya as science and innovation minister, Mauricio Lizcano as information technologies and communications minister, William Camargo as transportation minister, and Carlos Ramon Gonzalez as head of the public relations department.
According to accounts, Petro chastised the ministers for not being active enough and stated that the nation needed an “emergency government” that would work around the clock to solve the people’s socioeconomic challenges.