Argentina got a new economy minister late Sunday, a day after the sudden resignation of her predecessor rocked the ruling coalition at a time when it was already facing a unity crisis.
Gabriella Cerruti, a presidential spokeswoman, wrote on Twitter late Sunday that Silvina Patakis will now head the Economy Ministry, replacing Martin Guzman.
This choice may prove crucial to the administration of President Alberto Fernandez as it faces sharp internal divisions while Argentina is going through economic turmoil.
Patakis will be responsible for managing an economy burdened with inflation at an annual rate of over 60% and will play a key role in determining the future of the country’s recent deal with the International Monetary Fund to restructure $44 billion in debt. Many left-wing members of the ruling coalition oppose the IMF agreement.
Patakis was the Economy Minister for Buenos Aires Province, the country’s most populous region, from 2011 to 2015 under the then government. Daniel Scioli, who was recently appointed Minister of Federal Production.
Guzmán unexpectedly quit on Saturday, posting his seven-page resignation letter on Twitter, and back before markets opened on Monday was seen as particularly important to avoid further slippage by the Argentine peso, which recently hit an all-time low. against the dollar.
The economy has also been disrupted by truck drivers’ strikes over diesel shortages.
Guzmán was largely unknown when he became minister and was seen as a moderate in the ruling coalition, which includes more left-leaning elements aligned with Vice President Cristina Fernandez, the former president who still enjoys a strong support base.
On the other hand, Patakis has a long history of public service and is seen as close to the vice president and her allies.
The vice president, who is not related to the president, has publicly criticized the administration’s economic policies in high-profile speeches that highlighted differences within the ruling coalition.
Guzmán’s resignation letter, released when the vice president was giving a speech again criticizing economic policy, suggested he should step down at least in part due to a lack of political support.