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Argentine Political Outlook (Sep-13-15) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Sep-14-15 - by Rosendo Fraga

1) Cristina celebrated the diplomatic success obtained at the UN against vulture funds and ratified her policy to limit the next president's freedom of action. The UN Assembly approved by 136 votes the Argentine project supported by the G77 and China to regulate the so-called vulture funds in the light of the sovereign debt restructuring. The five BRICS voted for the project (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Based on this result, the president asked Lula in Buenos Aires to become the promoter for Argentina to join such group, something unviable due to the economic magnitude and population size of the country. The president and the economy minister announced the submittal of a bill to Congress to make into law the resolution approved by the UN, which is a political event without operative effects. But if approved, the new president, whether it is Scioli, Macri or Massa, would face an additional difficulty to solve the issue of holdouts. It is an initiative to compound the eventual resolution of the matter and that Congress will probably approve it as it is doing with the initiatives aimed at reducing the next president's freedom of action. This week, the Minister of Economy will submit before Congress the budget bill for 2016, which would also be approved and includes more limitations for the future president. The recent appointments for the Central Bank, as well as those made by competition, for which only pro-government officials ran, the Director of the Fine Arts Museum and the head of INTA, the new Court of Appeals in Comandante Piedrabuena in Santa Cruz confirm that all possible offices are being left to the Kirchners.

2) Less than a month and a half to go before the elections, the government fails to rebuild trust in the electoral process, affected by the irregularities denounced in Tucuman. This week, the final scrutiny will be announced, which will surely name the ruling coalition candidate (Manzur) as winner, but he will not be proclaimed due to a court ruling in Tucuman, which set forth that irregularities must be first solved.  But the most conflictive point has been the province of Buenos Aires, since the final scrutiny, which was revealed one month after the provisory result, the two most voted candidates (Vidal and Sola) added more than 2%. What defines the presidential election if someone wins in first round with 45% is just one vote and the same happens with the 10 point difference between the first and the second after the winner gets 40%. With what happened in Tucuman and the differences reported in the BA province, Argentina can face a political crisis unless there's a clear and compelling outcome. If Scioli wins in first round by 45.3%, it will be very difficult for the opposition to accept it without first reviewing the irregularities which may have occurred. This may be the highest risk faced by Scioli in electoral terms.

3) The president as well as the ruling coalition candidate for vice president have given signs of their intention to limit Scioli's power. With Scioli and Lula present, she said "one never stops being president". She said that making reference to the political role of the Brazilian former president but it was also a direct political message in the presence of the BA province governor. In turn, Zannini has started to break the silence. At the beginning of last year, he said "when I hear Daniel say an absurd thing, I'll let him know" and two days later he added, "nobody will take Cristina's place, she is unforgettable". When referring to the runoff system, which entails a risk for the ruling coalition, he rated it as "an antiperonist system created to fuck up the old man's life" referring to Peron and objected the bishops' statements on structural poverty. For his part, Scioli continues mustering supports and managed to get the support of two governors in the past days, who defeated Kirchnerism in the early elections of Rio Negro and Neuquen: Weretilneck from dissident peronism and Sapag, from Movimiento Popular Neuquino. The edition by La Campora of campaign brochures without coordinating them with Scioli's team has led him to launch in the coming days from Mendoza his own youth group called "Ola Naranja" (Orange Wave). For her part, the president will be in Cuba on Saturday, participating in a Mass given by the Pope, seeking the proximity he failed to obtain in Asuncion. For his part, Scioli hopes to gets stronger on Sunday with the FPV victory in the election of governor in Chaco.

4) In the opposition, Cambiemos suffers the impact from the allegations against Niembro and Massa continues avoiding polarization with a harsher discourse against the government. While new information revealed complicates the president and her son in the Hotesur case, the allegations against the candidate for national congressman of the PRO in the BA province (Niembro) has a lower weight but the ruling coalition is willing to enhance it. Using the PROCELAC -the Office that reports to Gils Carbo which investigates into money laundering- government has accused Niembro of money laundering as well as the deputy mayor and three ministers from Macri's cabinet for undue discharge of public duties and negotiations incompatible with them as part of the same case, which was assigned to the judge most aligned to the ruling coalition (Casanello). Macri has decided to close ranks behind Niembro while seeking to regain the initiative presenting the three axis of his proposal (zero poverty, fight against drug-trafficking and national unity) and speed up the recruitment of electoral observers to control the election. For his part, De la Sota ratified his alliance with Massa and the Governor elect of Cordoba (Schiaretti) also participates in his campaign. The former mayor of Tigre manages to retain his votes of the primaries with a discourse more compelling than Macri's. If Massa repeats the 20%, Scioli may win in first round with less than 45% because Macri would be below 35%. While rural producers are preparing a march in Buenos Aires for October, the Church reiterated through several bishops and a message of the Pope, its concern for structural poverty, drastically evidenced with the death of the children in the country's north.

5) To conclude:

a) The president celebrated as an ideological victory the approval of the UN of the "anti-vulture funds" regulation and by making it into law she will prevent her successor from solving the conflict.

b) The lack of trust in the electoral system may create a political crisis in the presidential election if the results are too tight around the percentages to determine whether the runoff will be held or not.

c) Both the president as well as Zannini has made public their expressions aimed at limiting the political role of Scioli, who mustered the support of two governors who defeated Kirchnerism (Rio Negro and Neuquen).

d) Macri seeks to resume the political initiative presenting the axis of his proposal after the allegations against Niembro while Massa manages to maintain and consolidate the third electoral space.

 
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