The president’s former campaign manager, who was a close advisor and an architect of the wide-ranging structural reforms, has resigned from the federal cabinet.
Luis Videgaray Caso, who has served as Finance Secretary since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012, submitted his resignation yesterday. He will be replaced by José Antonio Meade, who has served as Social Development Secretary for the past year.
A spokesman in the Finance Secretariat said this morning that Videgaray would not continue in public office.
Political commentators have suggested that Videgaray was responsible for the invitation to invite U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump to meet with Peña Nieto, a controversial meeting that took place last week and earned the president widespread criticism.
The president today described Videgaray as “a colleague very committed to Mexico and loyal to the president of the republic.”
But while the reforms in which the former Finance Secretary is believed to have played a key role were successfully approved and implemented, they have yet to produce much in the way of economic benefits.
Videgaray has also presided over a difficult period, punctuated by the collapse in crude oil prices and the value of the peso and rating agencies’ recent concerns about the growing level of debt in Latin America’s second largest economy.
He was also at the center of conflict-of-interest concerns when it was revealed that he, too, had bought a house from the government contractor who sold the so-called Casa Blanca, or White House, to Angélica Rivera, the president’s wife.
Videgaray’s departure was soon followed today by three more resignations from the Finance Secretariat. Undersecretary Fernando Aportela, Aristóteles Núñez Sánchez, head of the tax department, or SAT, and official spokeswoman Claudia Algorri have all elected to leave their posts.
For the new Finance Secretary, it’s the second time round. Meade held the post in the National Action Party administration of former president Felipe Calderón from September 2011 until November 2012.
His return had been rumored before now but he rejected the suggestion, saying “sequels are never good.”
Meade’s departure from Social Development was announced on short notice. He was obliged to change his schedule to today and cancel his participation in an international congress.
He will be replaced by Luis Enrique Miranda, until now an Undersecretary in the Secretariat of the Interior.