BUENOS AIRES — Argentina secured a new economy minister on Sunday night, a day after his predecessor’s abrupt resignation rocked the governing coalition at a time when it was already facing a crisis of unity.
Gabriela Cerruti, spokesperson for the presidency, wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening that Silvina Batakis will now lead the Ministry of Economy, replacing Martín Guzmán.
The choice could be crucial for President Alberto Fernández’s administration as it faces deep internal divisions as Argentina experiences economic turbulence.
Batakis will be tasked with managing an economy plagued by inflation at an annual rate of more than 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 government coalition oppose the agreement with the IMF.
Batakis served as economy minister for the province of Buenos Aires, the country’s most populous district, from 2011 to 2015 under the then government. Daniel Scioli, who was recently appointed federal production minister.
Guzmán quit unexpectedly on Saturday, posting his seven-page resignation letter on Twitter, and appointing a successor before Monday’s markets open was seen as particularly important to avoid another plunge in the Argentine peso, which recently reached a historic low against the dollar.
The economy has also been disrupted by strikes by truckers due to a shortage of diesel.
Guzmán was largely unknown when he became minister and was seen as a moderate in the ruling coalition, which includes more leftist elements allied with Vice President Cristina Fernández, a former president who still enjoys strong support .
Batakis, on the other hand, 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, recently began publicly criticizing the administration’s economic policies in high-profile speeches that highlighted divisions within the governing coalition.
Guzmán’s resignation letter, which was released as the vice president delivered a speech in which she again criticized economic policy, suggested he was resigning at least in part due to a lack of political support.