Silvina Batakis is the new Minister of Economy of Argentina

Silvina Batakis is the new Minister of Economy of Argentina

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President Alberto Fernández chose the former Minister of Economy of the province of Buenos Aires to lead the Ministry of Economy to replace Martín Guzmán, whose resignation fueled the long internal power struggle within the Government.

To the untimely resignation of the Argentine Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, the Government responded with a quick appointment: the economist Silvina Batakis will occupy the perhaps most relevant position of the Executive, in a complicated economic scenario.

Just a day after her predecessor’s abrupt resignation rocked the ruling coalition at a time when it was already facing a crisis of unity, Batakis, 53, was appointed by President Alberto Fernández.

Batakis will be responsible for managing an economy racked by inflation running at an annual rate of more than 60% and will play a key role in determining the future of the country’s recent deal with the International Monetary Fund to restructure $44 billion in debt.

Many leftist members of the ruling coalition oppose the IMF deal, one of what others see as the most remarkable achievements of Martín Guzmán, a moderate economist and pupil of Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics.

Getting to the Ministry, however, will not be an easy task for Batakis. Investors are increasingly concerned that Argentina will not be able to meet its debt commitments amid high energy import costs that are soaking up foreign exchange reserves and inflation linked to global prices.

A heterodox economist close to Cristina Fernández

The fact that the government appointed a successor before the markets opened on Monday is seen by analysts as an important step to prevent a further decline in the Argentine peso, which recently hit a record low against the dollar.

While Guzmán was seen as a moderate in the government coalition, Batakis has a long history of public service and is considered close to the vice president and her allies.

The vice president has been publicly criticizing the administration’s economic policies in high-profile speeches that have highlighted divisions within the ruling coalition.

Taking a heterodox stance, Batakis was economy minister of Argentina’s largest and richest province, Buenos Aires, between 2011 and 2015 under then-governor Daniel Scioli, who is now minister of national production. Currently, she had been working as a senior official of the Ministry of the Interior.

The new minister received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Argentina’s National University of La Plata in 1993 and a master’s degree in public finance. She also has a master’s degree in environmental economics from York University, UK.

With AP, Reuters and EFE

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Written by Editor TLN

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