Argentina’s Economy Minister Martin Guzmán, the architect of a recent loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has resigned.
Guzmán’s announcement on Saturday came amid a deep split in the ruling coalition over how to deal with Argentina’s escalating economic crisis.
Guzmán, 39, who has been a minister and close associate of President Alberto Fernández since late 2019, did not explain why he resigned.
But in a seven-page letter posted to Twitter, he suggested internal fighting was at least part of his exit and urged Fernandez to reform divisions so “the next minister doesn’t face the same difficulties.” lie down,” which he did.
Guzmán, who twice clashed with the powerful former president, Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, said he “remains confident in my vision of the path Argentina should follow.”
The former minister was the driving force behind a new $44 billion deal with the IMF earlier this year to replace a failed program dating back to 2018.
But lawmakers allied with the vice president who have called for more spending to reduce poverty voted against the deal with the IMF, and the deal only thanks Congress for backing the centre-right opposition. .
Guzmán reportedly released his letter of resignation while Fernández de Kirchner was delivering a speech commemorating former Argentine President Juan Domingo Perón.
His departure comes at the end of a week of economic turmoil that is sparking renewed uncertainty in Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest economy. The peso has hit an all-time low against the dollar as inflation tops 60 percent and truck drivers protest diesel fuel shortages.
The move also deals a blow to Fernandez’s weak power base.
“It’s a death prognosis,” said Mariel Fornoi, director of Management and Fit Consultancy, adding that a painful government defeat in last year’s midterm elections hit Fernandez hard.
“Now he’s lost another piece of his board, perhaps the most important one, and he’s feeling increasingly lonely.”
Guzmán said there had to be “a political agreement within the governing coalition” to choose his successor.
The President’s Office said it did not yet know when Guzman’s replacement would be announced. A government source said Fernandez called his cabinet members and colleagues for an emergency meeting.
“The President deeply regrets the decision but respects it. He is analyzing his next decisions,” said another government source with knowledge of the matter.
Two Economy Ministry officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Guzmán’s position had become untenable, especially without the support of his economic agenda.
“He couldn’t continue without equipment and with Christina,” said one of the two men. “If you can’t do it anymore, it’s an act of responsibility to let go.”
Miguel Kiguel, Argentina’s former finance minister, told Reuters that whoever takes office will have a tough time, noting that inflation could hit 80 percent this year and that there is a gap between official and parallel give exchange rates. There is a difference of 100 percent.
“We don’t know who’s coming, but it’s going to be very hot potatoes,” Kiguel said. “Whoever comes will have it very complicated.”
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