Martin Guzman: Argentine Minister of Economic Affairs resigns | Business and economic news

Argentina’s 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 splits in the ruling coalition over how to deal with Argentina’s deepening economic crisis.

Guzman, 39, a minister since late 2019 and a close ally of President Alberto Fernandez, did not say why he was stepping down.

But in a seven-page letter posted to Twitter, he suggested the internal fighting was at least part of his reason for leaving, and called on Fernandez to mend the divisions so that the “next minister” doesn’t. experiencing the same difficulties as him.

Guzman, who had clashed with Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a powerful two-term former president, said he was “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 2018 program.

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

Guzman eloquently posted his letter of resignation as Fernandez de Kirchner delivered a speech in memory of iconic former Argentine President Juan Domingo Peron.

His departure, which comes at the end of a week of economic turmoil, has sparked new uncertainty in Argentina, Latin America’s third-largest economy. The peso currency has hit an all-time low against the dollar as inflation is above 60 percent and truck drivers are protesting diesel fuel shortages.

The move is also a blow to Fernandez’s weakening power base.

“It’s the chronicle of a predicted death,” said Mariel Fornoni, director of the consulting firm Management and Fit, adding that Fernandez was hard-hit by a painful loss to the government in last year’s midterm elections.

“Now he has lost another piece of his board, perhaps the most important, and he is increasingly alone.”

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

The president’s office said it was not yet known when a replacement for Guzman would be announced. Fernandez had convened members of his cabinet and allies for an emergency meeting, a government source said.

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

Two economics ministry officials, who asked not to be named, said Guzman’s position had become untenable, especially without support for his economic agenda.

“He couldn’t go on without the tools and with Cristina against him,” said one of the two people. “When things are no longer possible, it is a responsibility to leave.”

Miguel Kiguel, former finance minister in Argentina, told Reuters news agency that whoever takes over will struggle, noting that inflation could reach 80 percent this year and that there is a nearly 100 percent gap between the official and parallel exchange rates.

“We don’t know who’s coming, but this is going to be a very hot potato,” Kiguel said. “Whoever comes will face a very complicated time.”

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