1657028591 Silvina Batakis a low profile economist to appease Argentinas power war

Silvina Batakis, a low-profile economist to appease Argentina’s power war

The new Argentine Economy Minister Silvina Batakis with President Alberto Fernández.Argentina’s new economy minister, Silvina Batakis, with President Alberto Fernández.ESTEBAN COLLAZO (AFP)

Silvina Batakis (Río Grande, 53 years old) was the person elected by Peronist Daniel Scioli to head the Economy Ministry in 2015 should he win the presidential election that year. The “premature appointment” of the future cabinet was one of the reasons MP Máximo Kirchner gave for the electoral defeat by Liberal Mauricio Macri. Almost seven years later, this economist and teacher with a long career in public administration will take office this Monday at the Palacio de Hacienda. His name was agreed between the president, Alberto Fernández, and his deputy, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, to replace Martín Guzmán following the political earthquake that prompted his resignation on Saturday.

The granddaughter of Greek and German immigrants, Batakis is the second woman to be in charge of Argentina’s economic portfolio, after Felisa Miceli, who headed it between 2005 and 2007, with Néstor Kirchner as president. Born on December 27, 1968 in the province of Tierra del Fuego (in the far south of Argentina), Batakis also lived in the northern Chaco before going to La Plata, 60 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, to study economics at the National University of La Plata.

“Silvina Batakis is a great economist and great colleague who has done tremendous work in the province of Buenos Aires, a feminist and advocate for environmental and gender issues,” Presidential spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti described in a radio interview. The appointment was announced through a tweet from him on Sunday evening.

Batakis previously held the provincial secretariat at the Interior Ministry, from where he maintained good relations with the governors, including opponents. He was under the orders of Minister Eduardo de Pedro, one of the men closest to Fernández de Kirchner, who had claimed Guzmán’s head for months.

Her Masters degree in Environmental Economics from the University of York, England, opened the doors for her first as a consultant and later as Director of Environmental Economics and Alternative Energies at the Buenos Aires Province Agency for Sustainable Development, where she spent much of her political career. .

After two years as secretary of state at the Treasury Department, then-governor of Buenos Aires Daniel Scioli appointed her provincial minister of economy in 2011, a post she held until 2015. They were difficult years, especially after 2012, when President Kirchner suspended sending national funds to the province to punish Scioli’s presidential ambitions. Batakis had to look for alternative sources of funding inside and outside the country. In the red, Batakis reduced public works to a minimum, increased taxes and adjusted teachers’ salaries, leading to numerous days of strikes in Buenos Aires’ public schools.

The opposition believes Batakis’ election to Economy is the work of the vice president, who chose an economist with a low political profile to take the helm, although she has not yet commented on the appointment.

Batakis inherits a troubled ministry. Its predecessor has failed to contain inflation, which is already over 60% year-on-year and rising, and the country needs to honor deficit-reduction commitments signed with the International Monetary Fund to restructure the debt incurred in 2018, which it is unable to cope with today .

Like President Fernández, Batakis has combined public management with university teaching. Since 2018 he has held the Chair of Environmental Economics at the Arturo Jauretche National University (UNAJ) and the Chair of Public Finance at the National University of Avellaneda (UNdAv).

One of his most famous passions is football. A Boca Juniors fan, the minister has shared on her social networks images of matches at La Bombonera and photos of some of the xeneizes idols such as Carlos Tevez and Juan Román Riquelme, the club’s current vice-president.

With her appointment, three women will join Fernández’s current cabinet, alongside Health Minister Carla Vizzotti and Minister for Women, Gender and Diversity Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta.

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