Sunday, June 23, 2024

ARGENTINA | 11-10-2022 17:16

Victoria Tolosa Paz takes on challenge of Social Development Ministry

Victoria Tolosa Paz will vacate her post as a national deputy to helm the Social Development Ministry. A mother of three with a long history of Peronism and public office, her partner is ex-media secretary Enrique ‘Pepe’ Albistur, a close friend of Alberto Fernández.

Frente de Todos national deputy Victoria Tolosa Paz will join Alberto Fernández’s Cabinet as Social Development minister, replacing Juan Zabaleta. She accepted the invitation to take on the post last weekend after a meeting with the president at the Quinta de Olivos residence on the outskirts of the capital. 

Toloza Paz’s arrival in government was confirmed Monday, along with the appointments of Raquel ‘Kelly’ Olmos as labour minister and Ayelén Mazzina as Women, Gender & Diversity minister. 

All three were hailed for their “extensive experience in their areas of reference” that the government said would “deepen the breadth of views and efficiency in management.”

A former chair of the National Council for the Coordination of Social Policies, Tolosa Paz has decades of Peronist activism behind her. 

The 49-year-old’s profile has risen considerably after she lost a competitive 2019 election for the mayoralty of La Plata and, most recently, since the 2021 midterm elections, in which she topped the ruling coalition’s legislative list in Buenos Aires Province. 

During that campaign she raised eyebrows after calling for more “enjoyment” in life and boasting about Peronist sexual activity being more prolific than their rivals.

Born into a middle-class family that supported the UCR Radicals, Tolosa Paz’s mother worked in the electoral justice system. She married young and had three children, before separating from her partner and graduating as as a public accountant from the Catholic University of La Plata.

Her current partner is Enrique ‘Pepe’ Albistur, a businessman with a long political history who is a personal friend of President Fernández and the owner of the flat in Puerto Madero where the Peronist leader lived before moving to the Quinta de Olivos presidential residence upon assuming office. This is the origin of Tolosa Paz's close political relationship with the head of state. In recent years, she has become one of the main defenders of the ‘Albertista’ administration in the media.

Toloza Paz has held many positions throughout her political career. Between 1996 and 2001, she worked for the Family and Human Development Council for the Buenos Aires Province government and in 2002, she worked as an advisor in the National Ministry of Social Development.

In the government of Eduardo Duhalde (2002), she was an advisor to the Social Development Ministry. When Néstor Kirchner took power in 2003, she became the regional head of a World Bank programme that assisted community soup kitchens and food banks. 

Later she worked for what is now the National Disability Agency and in 2014 she joined the ANSES management team, where she coordinated the implementation of a PROCREAR programme. During Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's second term in office, she gained greater credibility and in 2015, launched a campaign to become mayor of La Plata, a fight ultimately lost. 

After becoming president in 2019, Fernández appointed her as chair of the National Council for the Coordination of Social Policies, a decentralised body under the Presidency. She has served as its president since July 2020.

In 2021, Tolosa Paz headed the list of candidates for national deputies in Buenos Aires Province, a nomination that paid tribute to her relations with Alberto Fernández, Cristina Fernández de  Kirchner and Governor Axel Kicillof. 

In the legislative elections held November 14, she was elected national deputy, although she lost the race by 1.18 percentage points to PRO’s Diego Santilli at the provincial level.



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