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OPINION AND ANALYSIS | 10-10-2022 16:14

Argentina’s political crisis restarts with ministers leaving

Cabinet shake-up, with three ministers departing in as many days, is the latest episode of Argentina’s ongoing political crisis.

Argentina President Alberto Fernández named three new ministers on Monday as political infighting within his ruling coalition reignites.

Fernández named Victoria Tolosa Paz, a close ally, to head the Social Development Ministry while Kelly Olmos will become labour minister in charge of key negotiations with unions, the government said in a statement. The new officials will replace Juan Zabaleta and Claudio Moroni respectively.

Ayelén Mazzina will lead the Women, Gender & Diversity Ministry after the resignation of Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta on Friday.

The cabinet shake-up, with the three ministers departing in as many days, is the latest episode of Argentina’s ongoing political crisis, with open disagreements between Fernández and his powerful Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner over how to manage the crisis-prone economy amid growing social demands. 

The government saw Economy Minister Martín Guzmán resign in July before being replaced by Sergio Massa, who took office in August as Argentina’s fifth economy minister in four years and opened a period of political truce. 

Yet annual inflation accelerating toward 100 percent and Fernández’s falling popularity continue generating divisions within the ruling Peronist coalition a year before general elections. After an initial recovery on Massa’s appointment, Argentina’s sovereign bonds have fallen for four consecutive weeks, lingering around 20 cents on the dollar. 

Disagreements over how to comply with a US$44-billion lending programme with the International Monetary Fund have also helped to fuel the political crisis.  

The departure of Labour Minister Moroni leaves Fernández without a close ally and one of the last members of his original Cabinet named in December 2019. 

Separately, Gómez Alcorta’s exit followed her questioning of indigenous and women’s rights decisions by the government, according to state-owned news agency Télam.

 

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by Fabiola Zerpa & Patrick Gillespie, Bloomberg

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