Tuesday, November 28, 2023

ECONOMY | 19-11-2023 23:59

Report: Economy Minister Sergio Massa ‘to take leave of absence’ after run-off loss

Argentina’s Economy Minister Sergio Massa will reportedly seek a leave of absence from his post to "facilitate the transition" with President-elect Javier Milei; President Alberto Fernández speaks with election winner and duo agree to meet Monday for talks.

Argentina’s Economy Minister Sergio Massa will take a leave of absence from his post to "facilitate the transition" with President-elect Javier Milei, according to reports.

The Noticias Argentinas news agency, citing government sources, said the transition will be handled by Treasury Secretary Raúl Rigo and Central Bank Governor Miguel Pesce.

There was no confirmation from Massa’s camp or the government.

Reports did emerge, however, that President Alberto Fernández spoke to Milei on Sunday night and that both agreed to meet tomorrow to begin talks on an orderly and peaceful transition.

The president is understood to be against Massa's potential departure from the Economy Ministry, which could complicate efforts to stablise the country, which is suffering from inflation running at more than 140 percent per year and a poverty rate of above 40 percent.

Massa acknowledged his defeat onstage accompanied by his family and flanked by CGT co-secretary general Héctor Daer and Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof, who applauded him loudly when the run-off loser said that "the most important thing" after the ballot resolution was to give Argentines a "message of coexistence, dialogue and respect for peace.”

At that time, the results of the provisional vote count had not yet been made public. With 99.12 percent of the polling stations counted, Milei had 55.7 percent of the vote to Massa’s 44.29 percent. 

Massa revealed in his concession speech to reporters that he had phoned Milei to congratulate him on his victory.

Giving clues about his personal future, the minister said that Sunday night  "ended a stage" of his political life and that, from now on, it is time for "the new generations of transitional change" to come.

Among his remarks, Massa notably said that Milei would have to collaborate with the government in the 19 days that remain until the libertarian candidate takes office on December 10.

"From tomorrow, the responsibility and the task of giving certainty and transmitting guarantees about the political, social and economic functioning of Argentina is the responsibility of the president-elect," Massa declared.

In his own speech, an hour later, Milei called for "responsibility" from the national government.

 "We want to ask the government to be responsible, to understand that a new Argentina has arrived and to act accordingly. That they take responsibility until the end of the mandate on 10 December," said the national deputy.



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