Silvina Batakis replaces Martín Guzmán, who left the ministry on Saturday after months of wear and tear and failure
President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Kirchner spoke again after a long and tense silence
Silvina Batakis is the new Argentine Minister of Economy. His appointment, in a hurry after the surprise resignation of Martín Guzmán, seeks to stop the crisis of the Peronist government that plagues the president Alberto Fernandez. Guzmán slammed the door as part of the disagreements he had with the vice president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who had anointed Fernández as a candidate in 2019 to defeat the right at the polls but who, for months, had been estranged from the head of state, to the point of not even speaking to each other. As if it were a political version of the musical duo Pimpinela, both criticized each other in public without naming each other. The confrontation did nothing but weaken the Government and the figure of its first authority. Guzmán’s exit took the fight very far and was Estela de Carlotto, a grandmother from Plaza de Mayo, the organization that searches for the children who disappeared during the last dictatorship (1976-83), which acted as a mediator between the hostile parties crossed by rancor. The Fernandez spoke again this Sunday by phone and the result of that conversation is the appointment of Batakis.
It is not ruled out that there more ministerial changes. The president’s peso has been devalued as much as the national currency against the dollar. The authority was in clear decline at the time of detonating the crisis. Public opinion has mostly turned its back on him and the possibility that Peronism will be beaten at the polls in the 2023 presidential she’s very tall. In this context, the change in Economy seems one of the last and doubtful attempts to relaunch the Government.
Peronism was divided into three unequal parts. He joined more out of fear than out of love and defeated Mauricio Macri in the October 2019 elections, whose management was punished by economic deterioration and heavy foreign debt. The Fernandez promised to “come back better” than in previous years. The pandemic made actions difficult. The agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and private creditors also limited the field of action in a country with 40% poor. In this context, the differences between the president and his vice president arose. The first peak of discord became visible after the defeat of the parliamentarians last year in which Peronism lost its majority in the legislature, which currently limits the Executive’s field of maneuver even more. Fernández de Kirchner attributed the loss of four million votes to the adjustment measures adopted by Guzmán. With his resignation, a new horizon bursts forth, of uncertain duration.
President @alferdez appointed Silvina Batakis as head of the Ministry of Economy. Batakis is a renowned economist who fulfilled that role in the province of Buenos Aires between 2011 and 2015.
– Gabriela Cerruti (@gabicerru) July 4, 2022
Good relationship with the vice president
Batakis was Minister of Economy in Buenos Aires, the main province of the country and was carrying out functions in the second line of the Government. She is closer to the Minister of Production, Daniel Scioli. According to former Finance Secretary Daniel Marx, his work on the regional economic portfolio was “pretty good.” However, Marx clarified that “one thing is the province and another is the Nation”.
According to Ricardo Delgado, from Analytica Consultora, Batakis must give “a very quick signal” to the markets, expectant about the roadmap, if it will carry out a policy “closer to the agreement signed with the IMF” or if “it decides to go towards a model led by consumption” and the increase in wages, “closer to what the vice president has in the head”. If the latter is the case, she added, “she will also have to explain how the program will be financed and how it will impact inflation.” The cost of living threatens to break through the three-digit barrier at the end of the year, pushed by the depreciation of the national currency. Batakis, consigned The nation, “He does not believe that the way out to fight inflation lies in cutting public spending and that makes it grow in value against Cristina Kirchner.”
The main question that many observers were asking on Sunday night was whether there was room to restore confidence among the Fernándezes. Both have given in in a hurry due to the emergencies and the weight of the mediator. “I spoke with Alberto. When something as sublime as the Homeland is at stake, you have to risk it,” said De Carlotto. “He told me that he had tried communicate with her, but she did not answer him“. The claim reached their ears and, with a certain soap opera air, the Fernández got in touch and were able, at least this time, to channel the crisis.
Together for Change, Macri’s coalition, joyfully observed the complaint at the highest level of the Executive and asked its protagonists “institutional responsibility“. According to the right-wing alliance, “the country and Argentines, especially the middle and lower classes, are subjected to a growing economic and social deterioration due to internal disputes within the ruling party.” In the next few days it will be known what the strength of Peronism to avoid the abyss so feared: a devaluation that cracks the precarious bases of presidential support.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.