Argentina’s economic chief resigns amid electoral chaos

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Argentina’s Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne resigned amid a financial crisis exacerbated by the president’s defeat in a primary poll.

The country’s peso lost 20 percent of its value against the US dollar after President Mauricio Macri suffered the resounding loss last Sunday. In a letter to the president, Dujovne said he had given everything.

Mr. Macri was defeated in the primary elections by his left-wing rival Alberto Fernández. Mr Fernández’s running mate is former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who presided over an administration known for its high degree of protectionism and brutal state intervention in the economy.

Fernandez won the primary with 47.7% of the vote, with Mr Macri receiving 32.1%.

Following the main result, rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country’s debt rating over concerns about a possible future default.

A few days after the defeat, Mr. Macri announced a series of measures including income tax cuts and increases in social grants. Gasoline prices will also be frozen for 90 days.

Mr Dujovne said the government’s economic team needed a “major renewal”.

“I think my resignation is consistent with my place in a government that listens to the people and acts accordingly,” he wrote.

He will be replaced by Hernan Lacunza, the current Minister of the Economy of the Province of Buenos Aires.

A cabinet reshuffle has been rumored for several days.

Mr Macri was elected in 2015 on a promise to boost Argentina’s economy with a series of liberal economic reforms.

After taking power, he sought to restore international confidence in the economy with budget cuts and the removal of subsidies.

In May 2018, he announced that the country would seek a $ 50 billion (£ 41 billion) “pre-emptive line of credit” from the International Monetary Fund. The agreement was negotiated by Mr. Dujovne.

Argentina is currently in a recession and posted 22% inflation for the first half of the year, one of the highest rates in the world. More than a third of the country’s population currently lives in poverty, according to official figures.


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