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ARGENTINA | 23-05-2022 17:21

Roberto Feletti resigns as domestic trade secretary, strengthening Guzmán's hand

Kirchnerite official steps down as head of Domestic Trade Secretariat, strengthening position of Economy Minister Martín Guzmán.

Domestic Trade Secretary Roberto Feletti has resigned his post and quit the government, underlining rampant tensions in the ruling Frente de Todos and strengthening Economy Minister Martín Guzmán’s position. 

He will be replaced by Guillermo Hang, a former government official and  advisor who currently serves on the Central Bank’s board of directors.

Feletti, 63, announced his decision via a post on social media that included a copy of his resignation letter, sent to President Alberto Fernández a few hours earlier. 

“I have submitted my resignation as secretary of domestic trade. I thank President @alferdez for his trust, and ministers Matías Kulfas and Martín Guzmán for their always professional and respectful treatment," Feletti wrote on Twitter.

He cited as cause for his decision "discrepancies with the path that has been set and the economic tools selected."

The news is a major victory for Guzmán, who has been fiercely criticised by Feletti, a Kirchnerite loyalist who has overseen price controls, for his management of the economy. 

It comes just three days after the government announced it was restructuring its economic portfolio, moving the Domestic Trade Secretariat from under the umbrella of the Productive Development Ministry to the Economy Ministry. 

Government sources said that the move was part of an attempt to "better coordinate macroeconomic policies with microeconomic policies," though analysts saw it as an attempt to weaken Feletti and strengthen Guzmán’s hand. 

In his resignation letter, the outgoing official said he thought it was “reasonable” that the head of the economy portfolio should have “the freedom to select officials who share the defined course and the set programme.”

Feletti, who replaced Paula Español as domestic trade secretary last October 9, has publicly criticised Guzmán’s policies and management of economy on a number of occasions, slamming efforts to tamp down runaway inflation, calling for stricter price controls and demanding an increase in export duties for the agricultural sector, a move he suggests would "decouple" food prices from  in the domestic market from international prices, which have increased since the war in Ukraine.

Inflation in April was six percent, with prices up 23.1 percent in the first four months of the year, according to the INDEC national statistics bureau.

One of the few Kirchnerite voices within the government’s economic team, Feletti was seen as one of the sector's main swords in government.

On Monday, he said his decision to step down “opens a new stage” for the government, one in which Guzmán can “take charge of economic policy in a comprehensive manner, incorporating into its orbit price policies and other missions and functions related to the Secretariat." 

A former national deputy, he served as secretary of economic policy and development planning during Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's first term as president and as an administrative secretary for the Buenos Aires Province Senate.

Local media reported that Feletti and Guzmán had held a private meeting early Monday following the departmental restructure, but that the former decided to resign soon after.


– TIMES/NA/PERFIL
 

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