Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto on Wednesday announced a cabinet shakeup, just days after the much-criticized visit of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Videgaray, long considered President Enrique Peña Nieto’s closest advisor, reportedly lobbied hard to invite Trump to meet with Peña Nieto.
Luis Carlos Ugalde, director general of Integralia Consultores, a consultancy, said Videgaray’s resignation could be linked to the Trump visit.
Despite the avalanche of criticism he has received for last Wednesday’s Trump visit, which Foreign Secretary Claudia Ruiz privately opposed, Peña Nieto has defended his decision and the outcome of their meeting.
He acknowledged Mexicans’ “enormous indignation” over Trump’s presence in the country and repeated that he told him in person Mexico would in no way pay for the proposed border wall.
The wall proposal has been criticised widely and fiercely in Mexico.
Two people familiar with the matter said that Videgaray, who had once been one of the favorites to succeed Pena Nieto, will be replaced by Jose Antonio Meade, a former finance minister now serving as the minister for social development.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, also invited to visit by Pena Nieto, said this week that she won’t be coming to Mexico before Election Day. But after the meeting, the public and many politicians believed Nieto appeared submissive in the presence of the outspoken and arrogant Trump.
Mr Videgaray has been one of the president’s closest advisers, orchestrating a successful election campaign in 2012.
“I suppose it has to do with the fact that the political cost for the president has been very high”, Ugalde told AFP.
The economy has consistently fallen short of government growth forecasts during Videgaray’s tenure, and contracted in the second quarter for the first time in three years.
Gustavo Flores-Macías, professor of government at Cornell University and former director of public affairs in Mexico’s Consumer Protection Agency, says that the replacement of Mexico’s finance minister is far from a campaign victory for Trump.
The depth of Videgaray and Pena Nieto’s bond was highlighted when both were embroiled in conflict-of-interest scandals, after they were found to have acquired property from a favorite government contractor. Pena Nieto said, speaking directly to Videgaray.