The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, will take the oath of Sergio Massa as Minister of Economy, Production and Agriculture this Wednesday, amid strong expectations and a climate of renewed optimism in the ruling party after weeks of political uncertainty.
Massa left the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday to become a kind of “super minister”, since his entry into the cabinet implies the unification of three ministries covering the economic area.
“Argentina needs us to have humility, tolerance, capacity and courage to build consensus and state policies on some issues,” Massa said in a conciliatory tone when resigning from his legislative seat to be able to take the oath of office in his new role.
The leader also assumes, with the expected approval of Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who received him on Monday in her office in the Senate and even posted a photo in which both appear smiling, while the names of the new team began to be confirmed. of work.
Until last week, Massa was the third most important partner of the Frente de Todos, the ruling Peronist coalition, along with the president and vice president. However, from now on he acquires a centrality that even displaces Fernández, the president who faces strong wear.
The weakness of Alberto Fernández It is largely explained by the lack of positive results in economic matters, which led to a strong confrontation with the vice president, who demanded policy and cabinet changes that the president resisted, but finally had to give in.
In the months in which the president and the vice president did not even speak to each other, the political situation, which included the possibility of a breakup of the Frente de Todos and pressure from the partisan, media and business opposition, was encouraged by the economic crisis that Argentina and that combines inflation and record indebtedness, destabilizing speculations of the parallel foreign exchange market and lack of reserves.
However, since Massa was confirmed in his new position, “the markets”, that is, the speculators, have “calmed down”. So much so that The illegal dollar, which shot up to 340 pesos, plummeted to 288 on Tuesday.
The reconversion of this 50-year-old leader as the most powerful cabinet official it was well received in business and diplomatic circles generally hostile to Peronism. The impact has also been internal and emotional.
With the country in crisis, poverty affecting more than 40% of the population and public disputes between the president and the vice president, there were already leaders and militants of the Front of All who recognized that it would be impossible to win re-election in the presidential elections of October of next year. The surveys agreed that the negative assessment of the Government exceeded 70%.
For this reason, in Together for Change, the conservative coalition in which former president Mauricio Macri participates, they no longer wondered whether or not they would return to power. They took it for sure. The only question is who would be the candidate among a list headed by the head of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta; the former Minister of Security, Patricia Bullrich; and Macri himself.
But with the appointment of Massa the scenario changed. The new “super minister” hopes to overcome the economic crisis and end the paralysis in which the Government was submerged.
The cabinet changes revived the management, removed the pessimism and they helped Peronism once again feel that it is competitive and is not handing the presidency to the right on a silver platter. Despite reservations from different sectors, Massa became his new hope. If he wins, he will be the presidential candidate of Peronism in 2023.
For this, the results that the minister obtains in the immediate term will be decisive. For this reason, he already has a first international tour scheduled for the end of this month in which he will meet with the authorities of the International Fund for Investment (IMF) and the Treasury Department in Washington; with investors and bondholders on Wall Street; and with the Paris Club.
Knowing that his new task underpins his run for the presidencyMassa began to define his work team during the weekend.
In the rearrangement, Raúl Rigo returned to the cabinet again as Secretary of the Treasury, a position he had left a month ago, after the scandalous resignation of the former Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, in an episode that deepened the political and economic crisis in the country that now Massa tries to come back.
Finance, Debt, Budget and Public Revenue are other strategic portfolios in which there are already new officials about which Massa was explicit: the objective is to order and take care of public accounts.
On the political level, Massa’s position as president of the Chamber of Deputies was also strategic to maintain the balance in the ruling party and the relationship with the opposition.
One of the first names mentioned to replace him was Cecilia Moreau, a 45-year-old leader who became the first woman to hold this position.
“I am aware that I have an additional responsibility for being a woman. Do not be confused, I will not rule with my hormones this camerabut with my head and my political convictions,” said the new leader upon taking office on Tuesday afternoon, after Massa resigned from his deputy seat.
Thus, the Legislative Power will be headed by two women, since Fernández de Kirchner, in her capacity as vice president, also leads the Senate.
From the lower house, Massa will have another fundamental support: that of the deputy Máximo Kirchner, the son of the former president who at the beginning of February caused a shock by resigning as leader of the party of pro-government deputies, in protest at the agreement with the IMF that Guzmán had sealed, the former Minister of Economy who was always questioned by Kirchnerism.
With Guzmán gone, the support of a large part of Peronism is now concentrated on Massa, not even on the president anymore.
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