Silvina Batakis: The Minister of Economy of Argentina submits her resignation after 24 days in office
is the headline of the news that the author of WTM News has collected this article. Stay tuned to WTM News to stay up to date with the latest news on this topic. We ask you to follow us on social networks.
Argentina has lost its second economy minister in less than a month. Silvina Batakis, chosen as a consensus figure to replace Martín Guzmán, presented her resignation on Thursday 24 days after taking office. The minister responded in this way to the leak to the press that President Alberto Fernández was negotiating his replacement by Sergio Massa, current head of the Chamber of Deputies and helmsman of the third leg of the governing Peronist coalition, the Frente de Todos.
Batakis’ departure has been very careless, in keeping with the dimension of the economic and political crisis that is devastating Argentina. The minister read Massa’s name on the front pages of the Argentine press on Wednesday night, while she was waiting in Washington for the plane that was to bring her back to Buenos Aires. She had been in the US capital for two days, where she met with the leadership of the IMF and the FED, presidents of multilateral banks and leaders of investment groups and risk rating agencies. Batakis promised all of them that the government would comply with the adjustment agreed with the IMF in January and, what was most worrying in the US, that his plan had the agreement of the entire government coalition, including the sector that represents the vice president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Kirchnerism’s criticism of the agreement with the IMF was precisely what ejected Guzmán from his post at the beginning of July. Batakis was the consensus name that President Fernández and his vice president found. Since then, the minister has promised an even more severe fiscal adjustment than the one proposed by her predecessor. The markets received Batakis in the worst way: the peso collapsed against the dollar, the debt bonds entered the default zone and the country risk -the debt differential that Argentina pays with respect to the US-, reached record figures .
In the midst of the storm, Fernández sent his minister to Washington. Batakis spoke with the director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, and David Lipton, of the US Treasury. Hours later, she already had one foot in the exit door. Batakis landed in Buenos Aires and went directly to the Casa Rosada. She was there for two hours with the president, Alberto Fernández. After presenting her resignation, she obtained the presidency of Banco Nación as a consolation prize.
An increasingly lonely president
The president not only lost the Economy Minister he had chosen this Thursday. Just past noon, the Secretary for Strategic Affairs, Gustavo Béliz, left his post. The position may sound unattractive, but Béliz was one of the men closest to the president and one of the few who resisted in his position since the beginning of the administration, in December 2019. In September 2020, Béliz was the candidate of Argentina to occupy the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), as the counterpart of the man chosen by Donald Trump, Mauricio Claver-Carone. The Casa Rosada lost that battle.
Without Béliz, Fernández’s environment of trust has been reduced to just three people: the chancellor and former chief of ministers, Santiago Cafiero; the Secretary of the Presidency, Gustavo Vitobello; and the Legal and Technical Secretary, Vilma Ibarra. They are all leaders without electoral aspirations, unlike the rest of those who lead the different groups of the Frente de Todos, such as Massa himself and, of course, Kirchner.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS América newsletter and receive all the key information on current affairs in the region.