Thursday, July 18, 2024

ARGENTINA | 19-11-2023 21:39

Milei's future ministers – the names in the running for the president-elect's Cabinet

Following the libertarian’s storming victory in Sunday’s presidential run-off, which ministries have their ministers, which are left to be assigned and who will head them?

There are confirmed names, such as Diana Mondino (Foreign Minister), Guillermo Francos (Interior), Sandra Pettovello (Human Capital) and Guillermo Ferraro (Infrastructure) – but there are many positions yet to be filled.

Following Javier Milei’s storming victory in Sunday’s presidential run-off, attention turns to his future government. The libertarian has already confirmed a number of key posts, but there are plenty of positions yet to fill.

One major question is how many figures traditionally associated with the opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition will be tapped by Milei for positions. After agreeing a deal with former president Mauricio Macri and unsuccessful opposition presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich, most analysts expect the libertarian leader to concede a few posts to members of their PRO party.

Milei, 53, has already confirmed that his Cabinet will be much smaller than the current one headed by President Alberto Fernández. The libertarian has previously said he would like eight portfolios compared to the 19 ministries today.

Of the current ministries, only the Defence, Justice, Economy, Foreign, Infrastructure, Security and Interior portfolios will remain. 

Milei has previously said that a key move for him will be to establish a “ministry of human capital,” which will absorb the functions of four portfolios: Social Development, Health, Labour and Education.

The ‘Human Capital Ministry’ will be headed by Sandra Pettovello, a specialist in family sciences. 

Miguel Ángel Ponte, former deputy minister of Jorge Triaca during the Cambiemos government, could be appointed labour secretary within the sphere of this ‘super-ministry.’ Health would be overseen by Dr. Eduardo Filgueira Lima

Triaca was precisely one of the great orchestrators of the so-called ‘Acasusso Pact,’ the deal that La Libertad Avanza clinched with Macri and Bullrich after the election’s first round.

Occupying a major role, Milei himself has already confirmed that his foreign minister will be Diana Mondino, a renowned right-wing economist who studied at the UCEMA
 university, will be in charge of foreign policy.

One of the first questions she will have to answer is whether Milei will maintain normal diplomatic relations with Brazil and China, given the libertarian’s fierce criticism of the nations (which he describes as “communist”) on the campaign trail.

Guillermo Francos, a lawyer and perhaps the most moderate political reference of La Libertad Alianza, has been confirmed as the next interior minister and will face the task of weaving agreements with provincial governors.

Francos’ CV combines a long career in the private and public sectors, having been, for example, a Menemist national deputy between 1997 and 2000. Together with former economy minister Domingo Cavallo, he founded the Acción por la República party in 1996. He also served as head of the Banco Provincia during Daniel Scioli's first term as governor of Buenos Aires Province.

Guillermo Dietrich, former transport minister in Macri’s 2015-2019 Cambiemos administration, is a great promoter of the public-private partnership schemes that Milei encourages for public works projects. A close ally of the former president, has been mentioned as a candidate for infrastructure ministry in a Milei administration.

However, these rumours were played down in recent weeks in favour of reports that the head of the portfolio will be Guillermo Ferraro, an ex-director of KPMG Argentina, a company that provides audit, tax and advisory services. 

As for big names, Bullrich is a potential addition to the Cabinet – Milei said in a previous interview that he would like her to head the Security Ministry. 

Prior to the Macri-Bullrich-Milei deal, however, Milei said that his vice-presidential candidate, Victoria Villarruel, would be in charge of both the Defence and Security Ministries. A battle to watch closely.

The Cabinet's jigsaw puzzle will be completed as the days go by, but there will be other coveted posts that need to be filled. 

For the Central Bank, for example, orthodox economist Emilio Ocampo is the leading rumour. He would face the challenge of delivering one of the most controversial proposals on La Libertad Avanza’s platform: eliminating the entire institution.

Finally, there’s the question of Milei’s ‘debt’ to Macri following their deal. Having recovered almost seven points from the election’s first round, the libertarian went on to finish more than 10 points above his rival – a huge swing. 

The former president will feel the support of his coalition’s voters changed the race. In this sense, Macri’s former Cambiemos ministers Germán Garavano, who could win a second go at heading the Justice Ministry, and Federico Sturzenegger, a potential economy minister, have been named as potential Cabinet officials. 



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