Late on Sunday night, Argentina appointed a new economy minister, a day after her predecessor’s unexpected resignation rocked the ruling coalition at a time when it was already experiencing unity issues.
Late on Sunday, Gabriela Cerruti, a spokesperson for the presidency, announced on Twitter that Silvina Batakis will take over as head of the Economy Ministry in place of Martin Guzmán.
The decision could be critical for President Alberto Fernández’s administration, which is already divided within and is dealing with an unstable economy.
Batakis will be in charge of overseeing an economy afflicted by inflation that now runs at an annual rate of above 60% and will have a significant say in the outcome of the nation’s recent agreement to restructure $44 billion in debt with the IMF. The IMF accord is opposed by several of the coalition’s left-leaning lawmakers.
From 2011 to 2015, Batakis served as the province of Buenos Aires’s economy minister. At the time, the province’s governor was Daniel Scioli, who was recently appointed the federal production minister.
Guzmán abruptly resigned on Saturday, posting his seven-page letter of resignation on Twitter. The appointment of a replacement before the markets opened on Monday was deemed especially crucial to prevent the Argentine peso, which recently hit an all-time low against the dollar, from continuing to decline.
Due to a lack of diesel, trucker strikes have also hampered the economy.
When he was appointed minister, Guzmán was virtually unknown and seen as a centrist within the governing coalition, which also includes more left-leaning members affiliated with the former president and current vice president Cristina Fernández.
In contrast, Batakis has a long history of public service and is regarded as having a tight relationship with the vice president and her allies.
The vice president, who is not the president’s relative, has recently started publicly criticizing the administration’s economic policies in high-profile remarks, bringing attention to the rifts within the ruling coalition.
Guzmán’s resignation letter, which was made public as the vice president was delivering a speech in which she once more criticized the economic policy, implied that he resigned in part because of a lack of political support.