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Argentina’s bold ‘superminister’ takes on financial disaster By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Argentina’s new Economic system Minister Sergio Massa talks to the media after being sworn in, on the Economic system Ministry in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Matias Baglietto

By Eliana Raszewski and Lucila Sigal

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Requested about Sergio Massa, Argentina’s new “superminister” for the financial system, many Argentines understand him as an opportunistic politician with limitless ambition.

However Massa’s political acumen, honed over 4 a long time of party-hopping activism, can be extensively seen as key to rescuing Argentina’s financial system, which has been ravaged by sky-high inflation, crippling debt in addition to persistent overspending.

Earlier this week, the 50-year-old lawyer and former congressional chief for the ruling center-left Peronist coalition was sworn in as financial system chief by President Alberto Fernandez. Massa’s transfer is extensively seen as a stepping stone to a future presidential run, however provided that he can shortly present outcomes.

To just do that, the newly dubbed “superminister” insisted on broad powers earlier than accepting the daunting process, together with management over the agriculture, manufacturing and commerce secretariats, which have beforehand acted independently.

“He is a really succesful particular person, exceptionally ready. However he is additionally an enormous pragmatist, and that is why he determined to kind an alliance with the federal government,” stated legislator Margarita Stolbizer.

In 2017, Stolbizer joined forces with Massa in a Senate run towards leftist Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the nation’s highly effective vp and former president, who’s now a key Massa backer.

His resourcefulness gave him what his predecessors had been unable to acquire: the thumbs-up from the vp to hold out extra orthodox cost-cutting insurance policies, which Fernandez de Kirchner had spurned when proposed by others prior to now.

His resourcefulness gave him what his predecessors had been unable to acquire: the thumbs-up from the vp to hold out extra orthodox cost-cutting insurance policies, which Fernandez de Kirchner had spurned when proposed by others prior to now.

Massa’s backing by all of the ruling coalition’s warring factions provides him a leg up in contrast along with his speedy predecessors, longtime Economic system Minister Martin Guzman in addition to his short-lived successor, Silvina Batakis, based on political analyst Carlos Fara.

“The disaster has made everybody extra pragmatic, and that enables Massa to suggest issues that certainly would not have been accepted from Batakis and even much less so from Guzman,” stated Fara.

On Wednesday, Massa introduced a sequence of austerity measures, plus strikes designed to spice up dwindling overseas reserves, throughout his first day on the job.

SUPERHERO?

Massa started his political profession within the late Nineteen Eighties within the conservative Union of the Democratic Middle occasion.

From 2002 to 2007 he was a Peronist authorities official and later mayor of Tigre, a suburban space outdoors Buenos Aires the place he lives. He then grew to become chief of employees of then-President Fernandez de Kirchner, however resigned after lower than a yr.

In 2013, Massa based a brand new occasion referred to as the Renewal Entrance, which ultimately joined forces with different Peronist factions to create a center-left group that went on to defeat ex-President Mauricio Macri’s coalition within the 2019 election.

Over the previous decade, Argentina’s tough and tumble politics, amplified by the deepening financial disaster, have taken a toll on Massa’s reputation.

Practically 55% of individuals maintain a destructive view of Massa, whereas about 63% say they might by no means vote for him if he ran for president, based on a current survey from Administration & Match picture consultancy.

Because the nation limps to subsequent yr’s presidential election, Massa can be put to the last word check. A profitable efficiency as superminister can be essential for his personal future political prospects – to not point out very important for the near-term well being of South America’s second-biggest financial system.

“Massa is so bold. He is dreamed all his lifetime of being president,” stated businessman Gregorio Feldman.

“He’ll find yourself both a superhero or get eaten alive.”

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