BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s incoming cabinet has already been chosen and will be revealed on Friday, President-elect Alberto Fernandez said in a social media post on Tuesday, as the country and markets watch closely for the make-up of the Peronist’s core leadership team.
After weeks of speculation about key cabinet picks, especially for the vital economy role, the incoming center-left leader gave little detail away but downplayed the influence of his vice president-elect, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
“The cabinet is defined. Everything is already chosen and we are all working. We present it on Friday at 6 pm (2100 GMT),” according to a post on his official Twitter media account. This followed comments made on local radio station Metro 95.1.
Argentina’s creditors, energy investors and grains traders are watching Fernandez’s picks closely, worried that Latin America’s No. 3 economy could shift toward populism after four-years under market-friendly conservative Mauricio Macri.
The president-elect added that Fernandez de Kirchner, a divisive former president who clashed with creditors and the farm sector during her two-term administration, had given advice on the cabinet but denied she had installed her own people.
“Cristina influenced the make-up of the cabinet in the way a person whose opinion I value would but did not fill the cabinet with her own names. We are a united front. What I am looking for is that everyone is represented,” he said.
Fernandez’s team has kept a tight light on cabinet picks, though some key people are likely to play at least some role either in the formal body or as advisers.
Heterodox economists Matías Kulfas and Cecilia Todesca, debt expert Guillermo Nielsen, and academic Martín Guzmán are highly likely to take on economic roles.
Domestic media have also reported that young political scientist Santiago Cafiero, heir to a historic Peronist family, will be the Cabinet chief and that former Buenos Aires governor Felipe Solá will be foreign minister.
One source with knowledge of the matter and some domestic media have also said that Miguel Angel Pesce, an economist, is in line to take the central bank presidency.
Fernandez, who will come into office on Dec. 10 after winning an October election against incumbent Macri, faces a string of challenges including reviving stalled growth and renegotiating a painful debt pile with global creditors.
The country’s economy has been mired in recession for much of the last year, with annual inflation above 50%, sky-high benchmark interest rates and the central bank forced to drain dollar reserves to prop up a tumbling peso currency.
The economic crisis hammered Macri, who lost by a landslide in an August primary election ahead of the Oct. 27 vote, which sparked a market crash as investors feared political uncertainty with the return of the Peronist left.
Argentina is in talks with creditors and the International Monetary Fund to ease the burden of the country’s sovereign debt, with restructuring talks involving a total of around $100 billion.
Argentine bonds, already trading at historic lows, were hit again on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump announced surprise tariffs on Monday targeting steel and aluminum imports from Argentina and Brazil.
In a tongue-in-cheek comment about his higher-profile running mate, Fernandez said he enjoyed U.S. series “Veep,” where former senator Selina Meyer rises to become president, but that it did not mirror the situation in Argentina.
“To clear up any doubts, I have no plans to resign or leave my position until the last day”, Fernandez said.