Argentina's president reshuffles cabinet after political crisis: official

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez announced a new cabinet on Friday in a bid to smother a political crisis that pitted him bitterly against his vice president this week after an electoral defeat in legislative primaries.

The reshuffle came one day after Vice President Cristina Kirchner wrote Fernandez to demand one, deepening the crisis gripping the ruling coalition after their poor showing in the weekend primaries.

Juan Manzur, governor of Tucuman province, will take over as chief of staff from Santiago Cafiero, one of Kirchner's most controversial officials, the presidency announced.

Cafiero instead became foreign minister, replacing Felipe Sola, who is in Mexico.

The new ministers joining the cabinet, who will be sworn in on Monday, are Anibal Fernandez (Security), Julian Dominguez (Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries), Juan Perzyck (Education) and Daniel Filmus (Science and Technology).

Juan Ross was also appointed as the new Secretary of Communication and Press, replacing Juan Pablo Biondi, whom the vice president had openly rejected and accused of organizing "off-the-record operations."

The government of Fernandez and Kirchner, herself a former president, has been going through its most acute crisis yet this week after the weekend's legislative primary elections, in which the ruling Frente de Todos coalition won only 31 per cent of the votes at the national level.

These results put the ruling party's majority in the Senate at risk for the parliamentary by-elections on November 14, as well as any majority in the Chamber of Deputies, with two years of the Fernandez-Kirchner mandate still to run.