Peru’s culture minister Salvador del Solar has resigned amid continuing controversy over President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s decision to pardon the country’s former president, Alberto Fujimori.
“I thank the president of the Republic for giving me the opportunity to serve our country,” Der Solar said on Twitter, without referring to the pardon.
Del Solar, a film director, has not publicly said why he is quitting but friends say it in protest to the Fujimori pardon.
Fujimori, 79, was jailed for corruption and human rights abuses, including extra-judicial killings, before he was pardoned on Sunday on health grounds.
The move sparked riots in Lima earlier this week, and two other resignations by government officials.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mercedes Aráoz denied that the government made a deal with the opposition to free Fujimori in exchange for keeping Kuczynski in office.
President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski narrowly escaped impeachment last week.
The dual Japanese-Peruvian national Fujimori ruled Peru with an iron fist from 1990 to 2000. After leaving power, he spent time in Japan and then traveled to Chile, where he was arrested in 2005. After being extradited to Peru in 2007, he was sentenced to six years in prison for abuse of power. In 2009, he received an additional 25-year-sentence for abuses and killings committed under his rule.
In a video published on Facebook on Tuesday, Fujimori thanked President Kuczynski, saying he was “deeply grateful”.
“I’m aware that the results produced by my government were well received by some,” he said. “But I recognize that I have let down others. Those I ask for forgiveness from the bottom of my heart.”
He said that he fully backed President Kuczynski’s call for reconciliation.
Peru’s Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio announced his resignation on Friday, even before the pardon was officially announced on Christmas eve.
Three ruling party lawmakers have also stepped down, alongside a presidential advisor, and the head of the Justice Ministry’s office of human rights.