Martin Guzman: Argentina’s Economy Minister resigns | Business and Economics News

Argentine Economy Minister Martin Guzman, the architect of a recent debt deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has resigned.

Guzman’s announcement on Saturday came amid deep divisions within the ruling coalition over how to handle Argentina’s growing economic crisis.

Minister since the end of 2019 and close ally of President Alberto Fernandez, Guzman, 39, did not specify why he had resigned.

But in a seven-page letter posted on Twitter, he suggested internal battles were at least part of his reason for leaving, calling on Fernandez to mend divisions so the ‘next minister doesn’t suffer’ the same hardships as him. .

Guzman, who had clashed with Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a powerful two-term former president, said he maintained “confidence in my vision of the path Argentina should take.”

The former minister was instrumental in signing a new $44bn deal with the IMF earlier this year to replace a failed program from 2018.

But lawmakers allied with the vice president, who has called for more spending to reduce poverty levels, voted against the IMF deal and the deal only passed Congress thanks to government backing. centre-right opposition.

Guzman revealingly released his resignation letter as Fernandez de Kirchner delivered a speech commemorating iconic former Argentine President Juan Domingo Peron.

His departure, which comes at the end of a week of economic turbulence, is raising further uncertainty in Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest economy. The Argentine peso has hit an all-time low against the US dollar as inflation tops 60% and truckers stage protests over diesel shortages.

The move also deals a blow to Fernandez’s weakened power base.

“It’s the chronicle of a death foretold,” said Mariel Fornoni, director of consultancy Management and Fit, adding that a painful midterm election defeat last year for the government had hurt Fernandez badly. .

“Now he’s lost another piece of his board, perhaps the most important one, and he’s more and more alone.”

Guzman said “there should be a political agreement within the government coalition” to choose his successor.

The president’s office said it does not yet know when a replacement for Guzman will be announced. Fernandez had called members of his cabinet and allies to an emergency meeting, a government source said.

“The president deeply regrets the decision but respects it. He is analyzing his next decisions, ”said another government source familiar with the matter.

Two Economy Ministry officials, asking not to be named, said Guzman’s position had become untenable, especially without the backing of his economic program.

“He couldn’t go on without the tools and with Cristina against him,” one of the pair said. “When things are no longer possible, it’s an act of responsibility to leave.”

Miguel Kiguel, Argentina’s former finance secretary, told Reuters news agency that whoever takes over will struggle, noting that inflation could reach 80% this year and there is a gap of almost 100% between official and parallel exchange rates.

“We don’t know who is coming, but it will be a very hot potato,” Kiguel said. “Whoever comes is going to live a very complicated period.”

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