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Batakis, the heterodox economist who will have to deal with Argentina’s critical financial situation

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The heterodox economist Silvina Batakis was elected on Sunday as Argentina’s economy minister, in the midst of a political crisis in the ruling center-left coalition that has deepened the country’s serious financial difficulties.

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Batakis, who held the economic portfolio in the important province of Buenos Aires between 2011 and 2015, is considered an official close to the current vice president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, defender of a strong role of the State in the economy.

Batakis’ appointment took place after the resignation on Saturday of Martín Guzmán, close to moderate President Alberto Fernández, who has been estranged from Kirchner for months.

The economist Matías Carugati, from Consultora Seido, said on Twitter that “we have a minister but we do not have an economic plan,” noting that President Fernández ceded control of the economy to the most radical wing of his vice president.

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Until now, the new minister worked as Secretary of Provinces of the Ministry of the Interior of the Nation.

Parallel to the position he held until now, Batakis was head of the Federal Trust Fund for Regional Infrastructure and national representative before the Federal Tax Commission.

The new minister received a degree in Economics from the National University of La Plata in 1993 and obtained a master’s degree in Public Finance, according to official data. She also holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Economics from the University of York, UK.

In the academic field, she is a professor of Environmental Economics at the Universidad Nacional Arturo Jauretche and of Public Finance at the Universidad Nacional de Avellaneda, as well as a member of the Center for Federal Studies.

The official will have to attend to urgent problems: Argentina faces inflation that could exceed 70% this year, a high fiscal deficit and instability in the markets.

The country has just renegotiated an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for US$44 billion in unpayable short-term debt. Ahead, Batakis will now have to renegotiate with the Paris Club a debt of some US$ 2,000 million.

Source: Gestion

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