Buenos Aires Times | Guzmán’s position as economy minister not at risk, despite PASO defeat

Following the heavy defeat suffered by the ruling coalition in last Sunday’s PASO primaries, sources inside Government House have assured Perfil that Economy Minister Martín Guzmán’s position is not under threat.

“Undoubtedly, the elections were a very hard blow, very hard, but it does not imply we need to go out on a witch hunt or look for guilty parties. That is why there is a lot of speculation, especially around the economy minister,” said the source. “In reality, this thing that happened reasserts him in his position.”

Reports have previously claimed that hardline sectors within Frente de Todos have been questioning Guzmán and his performance, especially regarding the “fiscalist” objectives in his management of the economy.

In recent months, names of potential replacements for the minister have also been circulating, with figures close to Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof often entering the frame. They include Commerce Secretary Paula Español and Buenos Aires Province Production Minister Augusto Costa, both of whom are believed to have support from La Plata.

But yesterday’s PASTO result has totally changed the panorama for the ruling coalition, since the blow left not only President Alberto Fernández and Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner “badly wounded,” but Kicillof too, said the source.

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“This has totally dislodged Axel’s immediate political aspirations. And with this reality, at this moment, Guzmán has no replacement, especially if one takes into account that it is necessary to close an agreement with the IMF, ” said another government adviser consulted by Perfil.

A Cabinet official, speaking anonymously, added depth to that comment: “The one who has the papers and the key to close an agreement with the IMF is undoubtedly Guzmán. If they replace him at this time, the work with the Fund becomes much more difficult – it could even take longer than is appropriate.”

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Since Sunday’s wipeout, the name of ex-Central Bank chief Martín Redrado has also entered the frame, though sources close to him insist he would reject any offer. “At this time, no-one wants to immolate themselves,” came the brief response of a close friend of the former official.

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