53-year-old economist Silvina Batakis, a former Minister of Economy of Buenos Aires province and a member of the Peronist (centre-left), was named on Sunday as the new Argentinian Minister of Economy after the unexpected resignation of Martin Guzmán the day, the presidency announced.
The head of state Alberto Fernandez (center left) appointed the successor of the 39-year-old Guzmán - with Silvina Batakis of Greek origin, “[a] renowned economist who held this role in the province of Buenos Aires from 2011 to 2015,” his services said via Twitter.
El Presidente @alferdez designó a Silvina Batakis al frente del Ministerio de Ecomía. Batakis es una reconocida economista que cumplió esa función en la provincia de Buenos Aires entre 2011 y 2015.
— Gabriela Cerruti (@gabicerru) July 4, 2022
The president held long hours of deliberations yesterday to decide on the person who would succeed Guzmán, the architect of the deal with the IMF to restructure the Latin American country's debt.
Martin Guzmán, widely praised for preventing Argentina, Latin America's No. 3 economy, from defaulting on its foreign debt, has favoured mild fiscal adjustment to bring the deficit to zero.
But he has often faced criticism and challenges from the left wing of the ruling coalition Frente de Todos ("Front of All"), embodied by vice president (and former head of state from 2007 to 2015) Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Silvina Batakis was in the large province of Buenos Aires (15 million inhabitants) the finance minister of the then governor Daniel Scioli, former vice president when Nestor Kirchner was president, who is considered close to Cristina.
The appointment of Batakis appears to reflect the growing power of the Kirchnerites in the ruling centre-left coalition.
In addition to the implementation of the commitments of Buenos Aires to the IMF, with the main aim of bringing the budget deficit to zero by 2025 (it was 3% of GDP in 2021), Silvina Batakis will be called upon to rein in chronic inflation (50.9% in 2021, 60.7% in the last 12 months).
He will also need to travel to Europe to negotiate a $2 billion debt restructuring with the Paris Club.