Leaders from Argentina’s top opposition bloc indicated that they won’t be attending the government’s meeting at the presidential palace on Wednesday to discuss the state of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
President Alberto Fernández’s administration is seeking broad political support for talks with the IMF to reschedule payments on over US$40 billion owed to the lender. Congress must approve the IMF programme, meaning the opposition’s backing will be needed after Fernández’s coalition lost November’s midterm elections.
When asked why he won’t attend, Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, one of the top opposition leaders, said Tuesday that the forum “is more of a political meeting than a serious meeting of institutional work.” Rodríguez Larreta added that the government should hold such discussions in Congress, alongside leaders of each political bloc, instead of at the presidential palace.
A powerful party within the opposition coalition, the UCR, reiterated the same point in a Twitter thread Monday, and spoke for the three opposition governors. Local media reported that Córdoba Province Governor Juan Schiaretti, who leads his own party, won’t attend either.
The lack of participation from governors outside the ruling coalition isn’t a good sign for the future programme, since the IMF said in December that “broad support” within Argentina would be critical to its success.
The meeting with governors on Wednesday, led by Economy Minister Martín Guzmán, is expected to spell out Argentina’s proposals to the IMF on targets for the fiscal deficit, monetary financing and international reserves. Negotiations are at a critical stage as Argentina faces large payments due to the IMF this year, and Fernández has already said the country can’t pay.
by Patrick Gillespie, Bloomberg