Economic Minister Martín Guzman´s resignation forces Alberto Fernandez's hand

ARGENTINA - In Brief 04 Jul 2022 by Esteban Fernández Medrano

Saturday’s resignation of Economic Minister Martín Guzman (MG), which he made public through his personal Twitter account, rather than the official communication channels, took the political spectrum by surprise.

Although since last years mid-term elections, and in particular since the IMF agreement, the Kirchnerists' “coalition-partners” had pressed President Alberto Fernández (AF) to fire Martín Guzman, AF had decided to ratify his former economic minister. Such presidential support gained importance after AF had to accept the resignation of his onetime Production Minister, Matías Kulfas.

Admittedly, MG had threatened his resignation last April, when he did not find in AF the needed political support to remove the Kirchnerist undersecretary of electric energy, Federico Basualdo. But at that moment, AF managed to maintain his economic minister, who played an important role in the interaction between the government and the IMF and gave AF some command over economic policies. But MG’s friction with his subordinates in the Energy Secretariat persisted. Local reporters argued that the straw that broke the camel's back and drove MG to present his resignation was precisely the delays in implementing the income-segmentation scheme to raise tariffs for higher-income individuals, a compromise that MG had with the IMF.

But the general perception is that with the IMF targets for the second quarter barely met, MG feared that there would not be enough political strength to implement the needed economic adjustments to try to maintain the IMF targets in the second half of the year and with them, the rollover of the 2018 Stand by Agreement.

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