President-elect Alberto Fernández says that he’s nearly decided who he will appoint to fill his Cabinet, after spending more than three hours with his running-mate Cristina Fernández de Kirchner this week locked in discussions.
The former president and vice-preisdent-elect returned from Cuba on Monday, where she had been visiting her sick daughter Florencia. Later that day, Fernández de Kirchner hosted the president-elect at her apartment in Recoleta.
“We are friends, it had been two weeks since I had seen her and we enjoyed catching up about personal items as well as matters of the country,” Fernández said afterwards.
Though he provided no specific details as to the make up of his Cabinet, he did say the two had discussed its composition at length and that selections were ‘basically defined.’
The Frente de Todos leaders have kept quiet on their plans to date. Though some names have been floated, to this point, the only semi-official designation has been Daniel Arroyo, who the president-elect hinted this week was all-but certain to serve as health and social development minister.
“Daniel is the person who knows the most about this topic and it’s difficult to imagine him not being tasked with this role,” Fernández said in a radio interview this week.
As for the potential future Cabinet members themselves, potential officials told Perfil journalist Rosario Ayedi last week they haven’t yet received formal offers from Fernández. Sources say, however, that many have already started work in the areas in which they’re being rumoured to occupy.
Based on Fernández’s previous comments, as well as those of individuals close to him, Ayedi reported last weekend that the president-elect will fill positions with people he trusts implicitly.
This intimate circle consists of figures like Santiago Cafiero (tipped to be Cabinet chief), Matias Kulfas and Cecilia Todesca, both of whom have made almost daily visits to Fernández's offices in Puerto Madero to go over economic numbers with Guillermo Nielsen, who is expected to take up the post of economy minister.
Others include Felipé Solá as a potential foreign minister, Eduardo “Wado” de Pedro as interior minister, Julio Vitbollo and Claudio Moroni, potentiall as labour minister. The circle is filled out by Alberto Iribarne, a former justice minister under Nestor Kirchner who many believe will be tapped to run the Federal Intelligence Agency. Such a move, observers say, would demonstrate that Fernández expects his cabinet to respond to him and not to his vice-president.
As yet, however, no appointments have been made official.
Inevitably, some concessions will be made to those who helped unify the Frente de Todos coalition, unlocking key support within various provinces or voting blocs. Frente Renovador lawmaker Raúl Peréz, for example, was reportedly key in achieving coalition unity and winning support from Tigre. He’s expected to be named transport minister, but no move has yet been made.
Another example of political backscratching is the alleged agreement between Fernández and the former and current governors of Misiones. In June, Perfil reported that Fernández had secured the support of the province’s now-former governor, Carlos Rovira, and its then governor-elect, Oscar Herrera Ahuad, in exchange for Sergio Lanziani taking the post of energy minister.
Sources close to Fernández are briefing that the president-elect is dragging out the process of forming his Cabinet, with the intention of revealing names closer to inauguration day.
Other topics to define and to be evaluated are also tied to Congress, which already has hedged on defining the leaders of the blocs, the legislative agenda and discussions about period of special sessions this summer.