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Peru's President Ollanta Humala walks, wearing an indigenous "poncho", at Las Malvinas natural gas plant, part of the Camisea project, after a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the plant's operations, at Cuzco in the Amazon jungle August 4, 2014. REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil(reuters_tickers)
LIMA (Reuters) - Peru's President Ollanta Humala failed to find enough support in Congress to ratify his new cabinet on Thursday after key conservative allies withheld votes, underscoring his waning political power as the economy slows.
The crisis threatens to topple Humala's sixth cabinet as opposition lawmakers attack the new prime minister, as well as the finance minister and energy and mines minister.
Complaints about the ministers range from allegations that they cater to lobbyists to criticism of their response to unusually weak economic growth this year.
After more than 15 hours of debate in Congress, 63 lawmakers abstained from voting to ratify Prime Minister Ana Jara, 50 gave her a vote of confidence and one voted 'no.'
If a majority of lawmakers cast 'no' votes in a future session, the cabinet will be dissolved and Humala will be forced to make new appointments. In the meantime, the cabinet can continue governing as new votes are called.
Humala's previous prime minister underwent three votes before securing a congressional green light in March. That marked the first time in more than a decade that Peru's Congress failed to ratify a presidential cabinet as a formality required by the constitution.
The conservative block of lawmakers that bailed Humala out of the crisis in March by voting for his cabinet at the last minute said it would not do so again.
"The government in general does not give us confidence," said legislator Luis Galarreta with the PPC party.
The conservative block of seven lawmakers, known by the initials PPC-ACC and affiliated with former presidential candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, has been key to helping Humala push his economic proposals through Congress in the past.
Galarreta said it is not demanding that Finance Minister Castilla resign as was reported in local media. But he said Castilla should probably be replaced with someone more capable of responding to the worst economic growth rate in five years.
Castilla, a former World Bank economist who has been finance minister since Humala rose to power in 2011, faces unprecedented criticism from both the political left and right.
In June, the economy grew just 0.3 percent from the same month a year ago, the worst expansion since 2009 when Peru was reeling from the global financial crisis.
Humala, a former military officer and once a left-leaning radical, turned to the right after being elected and has continued the open-market economic policies of his predecessors.
(Reporting By Patricia Velez and Dante Alva. Editing by Andre Grenon)