Argentina has a new Economy Minister, as the government announced late on Sunday that Silvina Batakis would replace Martín Guzmán following the latter’s controversial resignation on Saturday, after a year-long clash with Vice President Cristina Kirchner.
Ms. Batakis was Economy Minister of Buenos Aires province under Daniel Scioli between 2011 and 2015, in a tenure that included some clashes with then-president Ms. Kirchner. She has, however, become much closer to the current vice-president as of late.
Throughout the Alberto Fernández presidency, Ms. Batakis worked under the wing of Interior Minister Wado de Pedro, a very close ally of Ms. Kirchner’s who only dissented from the VP on one issue: supporting Argentina’s historically large deal with the International Monetary Fund.
This means that the deal is unlikely to be repudiated, but other aspects of Argentina’s macroeconomy management could be handled in ways that conform more to Ms. Kirchner’s wishes – though no details of Ms. Batakis economic plans have been leaked to the press so far.
The new minister will have to deal with a massively complex macroeconomic situation, including a crisis at Argentina’s Central Bank and the renewal of billions of peso-denominated debts in the Treasury, all while dealing with spiraling inflation, currently above 60 percent, which the government has tried to curb via rising interest rates, price controls and temporary spending freezes – with few positive results so far.