Who is Silvina Batakis, the newly appointed National Minister of Economy?

gracielle

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3 July 2022
Born in the city of Río Grande, province of Tierra del Fuego, Batakis, 53, holds a degree in Economics from the National University of La Plata, where she also completed a Master's Degree in Provincial Public Finances. She also obtained a Master's degree in Environmental Economics from the University of York, England. Among her achievements, the future minister received distinctions and honors of various calibers, such as the 2009 Mobilité Programme grant to participate in the Lyon renewable energy exhibition, awarded by International Relations and Cooperation Rhône-Alpes. She was also awarded the 2001 Chevining Scholarship by the UK Foreign Office.

In addition, she was awarded a scholarship for Higher Studies from the Federal Investment Council and a scholarship for Postgraduate Studies from the Organization of American States for studies in Chile. She also received a Special Mention at the 30th Public Finance Conference of the National University of Córdoba. In the public administration of the Province of Buenos Aires, Batakis has held various positions since 1992. She was Chief of Cabinet of Advisors to the Minister of Economy of the Province of BA, as well as Director of Free Zones, Provincial Director of Environmental Economics and Alternative Energies at the Provincial Agency for Sustainable Development, Provincial Director of Economic Studies at the Ministry of Economy and assistant at the Planning Department of the Ministry of Infrastructure.

She was also Chief of Cabinet of Advisors and then Undersecretary of Finance (2009-2011) during Alejandro Arlía's term as Minister of Economy of the Province of BA. As of 2011, she was chosen by Daniel Scioli, then Governor of the Province, to replace Arlía in Economy, a position she held until the end of his term of office in 2015. During the 2015 electoral campaign in which Scioli competed for the presidential election, the then governor had publicly stated that Batakis would be his Minister of Economy in case he won the elections. However, the defeat in the runoff with Mauricio Macri left that dream unfulfilled. Her specialties include Public Finance and Environmental Economics. Since 2019, she has been serving as head of the Secretariat of Provinces in the Ministry of the Interior under Wado de Pedro.
 
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gracielle

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4 July 2022
Crisis in the Government. Alberto Fernández finally spoke with Cristina Kirchner, who imposed Silvina Batakis as Minister of Economy. Fernandez's closest circle had insisted on a communication with the former president, which the President, questioned even by his most loyal followers, resisted in solitude. As of Monday, his leadership is still hanging by a thread.

Sergio Massa had asked for the Chief of Cabinet position and the control of the economic cabinet. The appointment of Silvina Batakis, as the new Minister of Economy, was announced from the presidential quinta. This was a decision that left the former President satisfied on Sunday night but was not enough to satisfy the very serious political and economic crisis in which the Gov't was immersed after the resignation of Martín Guzmán and the non-stop internal conflict between the ruling couple....

....Batakis has a good relationship with Cristina Kirchner, adheres to the ideas of the Instituto Patria and used to report to Eduardo "Wado" de Pedro. In this sense, she has an auspicious fact for the Gov't: due to her current role, she has established a link with the governors. But she had not been the most promoted candidate during the last hours: Marco Lavagna, Emmanuel Álvarez Agis, Martín Redrado and Sergio Massa himself, another of the main protagonists of the weekend, were insistently mentioned....

....Until the Gov't announced Batakis as the only cabinet change, the versions were incessant, and they pointed to a much larger restructuring with Massa as the central figure of an eventual new power scheme....According to reports, Massa asked, unsuccessfully, for a broad agreement between the majority partners of the Frente de Todos, the Chief of Cabinet under his charge and the control of the economic cabinet: the Treasury Palace, the AFIP and the Central Bank. He moved his chips until the end, but did not have internal consensus. At least for now.

To make matters worse, the Minister of Productive Development, Daniel Scioli whose entry into the government was rejected by Mazza, was one of the first to greet Batakis through the social networks....At the end of the day, the President's entourage assured Clarín that, for the time being, "there will be no more changes", despite the political and economic fragility of the Gov't and the uneasiness of the leaders of all the sectors of the coalition consulted by this newspaper, who went to sleep with a bad taste in their mouths. And worried about the reaction of the markets as of this Monday.
 

sts7049

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so now the question is, what is Kristina's motive with this lady? there is some 3d chess going on here
 

antipodean

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Whoever was going to take this role at this moment in time was almost certainly doomed to being a “burner” with enough “distance” between them and 2023 presidential hopefuls.

Scenario 1 - Devaluation + Plan = shocked, angry and poorer voters.
Scenario 2 - Denial/ Continuation of failed policies = angry and poorer voters.

Anyway back in 2015 when she left office as Minister of Economy for PBA, the province was so broke it couldn’t even pay its public employees. So she definitely has experience of being at the helm during a total self-inflicted economic failure.
 
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gracielle

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so now the question is, what is Kristina's motive with this lady? there is some 3d chess going on here
By Sunday Marco Lavagna, Emmanuel Álvarez Agis, and Martín Redrado had already turned down the position.
Batakis was the candidate of last resort to be offered the job at the suggestion of Daniel Scioli to CFK.
 

gracielle

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4 July 2022
Deficit, inflation, "inheritance" tax, dollars and tariffs: how the new Minister of Economy thinks about these issues.
Dollar: "I would try to lower the exchange rate pressure through tourism," Batakis answered when asked how to contain the exchange rate run in 2018, in an interview she gave to Diario Perfil. "There should be a differential exchange rate for other sectors."

Although the current situation is different from that of four years ago, since there is an exchange rate barrier that prevents a run against the official dollar, parallel exchange rates rose more than $50 in the last month and generated an exchange rate gap that already exceeds 100%. In another interview with Página 12, in 2018, she once again ratified the idea of splitting the exchange market: "It would seem reasonable to me, there could be a tourist dollar, another savings dollar and another one for foreign trade, but I do not think that the government would apply it". Besides, the tourist dollar is always under analysts' scrutiny, because the Central Bank loses around US$ 500 million of its reserves per month to supply the purchases of the savings dollar and of products and services abroad....
 

gracielle

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4 July 2022
Cristina Kirchner's latest requests that set the agenda for Batakis. The vice-president pointed against the government's economic management and demanded changes that put pressure on the new minister....In her presentation on the risks of a "bimonetary" economy, the Vice-President referred to inflation, the wage crisis, the "import festival" and the management of social plans. All urgent issues that will set Batakis' agenda....
 

Quilombo

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Whoever was going to take this role at this moment in time was almost certainly doomed to being a “burner” with enough “distance” between them and 2023 presidential hopefuls.
Part of me feels bad for her/anyone that takes the role, it's truly a thankless job. That being said you do get one of the most prestigious positions a person can attain in government beyond President/Prime Minister (albeit in an economic basket case of a country) so I suppose that has some appeal if you want to have a title/history book mention/be setup for work afterwards.

But I digress; even if she has her own socio-economic philosophy (or any other candidate had theirs for that matter), it never stood a chance of being implemented as Cristina will decide what the focus will be, and my money is on the "Festival of Imports" as she calls it, that is once the immediate bleeding from the fallout subsides (so far valued at $100 Million USD, today alone, we'll see tomorrow once Wall Street opens). As you said, she's the sacrificial lamb; damned if she does, damned if she doesn't.

Relatedly I have a militant K/Campora acquaintance I keep on social media to get an eye in to their world, and on Saturday he posted a meme about Guzman resigning photoshopped over an unrelated celebration at Obelisco, and today it was an angry post about how Batakis has no plans to change things up with the IMF, so what was the point of pushing Guzman out? I had to resist the urge of pointing out the cui bono of Cristina's little move basically being the very people the Campora hate: the rich who have dollars and JxC. Cristina is a much more cunning political entity than myself of course, but I can't help asking the same thing if the only material change will be slightly more "use of the pen" and a further cepo on imports.

What's her long game here, am I missing the forest for the trees? I was originally inclined to believe that she was intentionally tanking Alberto's presidency so she could swoop in and take the reigns again, but I seriously doubt the effectiveness of that strategy these days if even the militant Ks are getting increasingly disillusioned with her (albeit indirectly). And for Alberto, I've never seen a more spineless "leader" in my life. What benefit does having her in the tent do anymore if she's only pissing inside it? Talk about taking LBJ's advice to the extreme...
 

Alby

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A rather amusing take on all this is the following. Alberto (witness to, but eternally silent on, the malfeasance of Nestor) walked away from the government and began attacking Cristina. Then, retired from politics (all he, reportedly, expected from an FDT victory in 2019 was the ambassadorship in Madrid), he carped away in cowardly fashion from the sidelines, considering himself immune, never imagining that, now a paid pundit and no longer a politician, there would be a price to pay that was higher than the benefits obtained. Now, he is paying a huge price for everything: first his self-interested cowardly silence, then his self-interested cowardly carping, and finally, his vanity in falling into the trap that Cristina laid.
 

antipodean

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4 July 2022
Cristina Kirchner's latest requests that set the agenda for Batakis. The vice-president pointed against the government's economic management and demanded changes that put pressure on the new minister....In her presentation on the risks of a "bimonetary" economy, the Vice-President referred to inflation, the wage crisis, the "import festival" and the management of social plans. All urgent issues that will set Batakis' agenda....
In other words her request is to take us back to the future resembling the last years of the last CFK regime:
- intensify the artificial “propping up” of the ARS with a great deal of USD that the state doesn’t have, making a future devaluation so much more painful when the bubble finally needs to burst
- go back to manipulating INDEC inflation data, because if INDEC says there isn’t an inflation problem, there isn’t
- freeze more prices to make salaries last until the end of the month, and stall production while they are at it causing shortages left right and centre
- take over social plans just before the elections to have some leverage over the most vulnerable to essentially starve them into submission while making the most of yet another “caja” of the state
- set the economic time bomb to detonate just as the next government (which they know most likely won’t be them) takes office to be able to start the “ah, pero XXX” all over again

As for the the long-game of CFK, IMO it is to ensure the survival of the family business - even if not a “coup” to oust Alberto in his last months and take care of Judicial “reforms” once and for all - and even if not seriously trying to win the presidency in 2023, the only hope it has of coming back to power in future is if the next government somehow do worse than this one - by making the problems even more expensive and painful to fix you can easily achieve that it up against “moderates”. From a more practical level, in order to keep out of jail they need positions like being a Senator etc which still require votes and an important political base. They also have a lot of useless “career politicians” who don’t do private jobs to tide over during their down time in order to keep everyone on side…lord knows that an unemployment benefit here won’t even cover the expensas in Nordelta or Puerto Madero.
 
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