Mexico’s President reshuffles cabinet

Mexico City, Sep 8 (IANS) Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto has announced a cabinet shakeup, just days after the much-criticised visit of US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Pena Nieto on Wednesday named Jose Antonio Meade to be his new Finance Minister, after Luis Videgaray — who is said to have been behind the invitations to Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton — handed in his resignation, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meade’s first task will be to present the 2017 budget to the Congress for approval in coming days.

Meade, who was at the helm of the Social Development Ministry, has served as head of finance during the Presidential term of Felipe Calderon (2006-2012), and also as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Nieto called on Meade to continue the government’s policy of fiscal responsibility “to contain and stabilise the growth of the public-sector debt as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP)”.

He indicated that Meade will have to make cuts in 2017 public spending to ensure macroeconomic stability.

However, “it is up to the government to tighten its belt, without affecting the people,” said Nieto, adding “there will be no new taxes nor increases to existing ones.”

Meade must also “give priority to investment projects and social programmes that have been most effective in fighting poverty”, said Nieto.

Luis Enrique Miranda, former Deputy Minister at the Ministry of the Interior, replaced Meade at Social Development Ministry.

According to media reports, Trump’s visit to Mexico was widely seen as a diplomatic failure that only served to strengthen the candidate’s standing among potential voters by making him seem more presidential.

Meanwhile, Mexico was criticised for appearing to meddle in the US presidential election process, and Nieto was forced to repeatedly defend the decision of inviting the presidential nominees.

In a recent interview with a US news network, Clinton said she would not accept the invitation, dealing another blow to Mexico.

–IANS

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