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Argentine Political Outlook (Dec-09-15) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Dec-09-15 - by Rosendo Fraga

1. On Saturday, December 13, Macri is going to introduce his "governability Pact" before the presidential candidates and Governors. He made reference to it several times and after the second round, clarifying at the same time that there won't be a "coalition Government". In contemporary Latin American politics, the soon-to-prevail model is the "Pact for Mexico" which President Peña Nieto implemented in 2012. Without giving them participation in the Executive branch, he agreed with the defeated candidates from the other two parties (center-right PAN and center-left PRD) the parliamentary support needed to carry out the reform program of his party - PRI, a populist historic but modernized party-focused on energy, education and tax matters. Without a coalition Government and parliamentary majority of its own, he managed to get it. In addition, this year he won the mid-term elections despite the problems of security, drug trafficking and corruption he faced in the first part of it. The point is that "governance pacts" without a "coalition Government" can be realized as long as there's a "parliamentary coalition", and this is perhaps the most important political challenge faced by Macri. The Governors are key to the management of the Senate, where Cambiemos has only 15 of 72 senators -only 4 from PRO-, and the former candidates for President in the short term represent his voters, although this effect lasts only weeks.

2. The three PRO Governments show homogeneity in their Executive branches, but some nuances in the implementation of parliamentary coalitions. In all three cases, 80% of Ministers come from the PRO and their officials or business executives. Only 20% come from traditional politics, although they are incorporated in their personal capacity, with the exception of the radicals. Vidal has achieved a permanent parliamentary coalition by agreeing with Massa so that when adding the two sectors (PRO and FR), they have the majority among the 46 provincial senators and 92 congress members. The role of the "old politics" becomes evident as the Senate is presided by a radical (Salvador), who is her deputy governor, and a dissident Peronist (Sarghini), who will preside over the Lower House. The FPV bloc of BA province Senators has already been divided in two (9 Kirchnerists and 9 Peronists) and in the Lower House, a leader of La Campora (Ottavis) is resisted as President of the bloc. In the city of Buenos Aires, where the PRO will have 28 of 60 members, the third bloc with 11 legislators is ECO of Martín Lousteau, who joined the National Executive as Ambassador in the United States. Both combined, they not only have the majority but they remain at one of two-thirds away from the qualified majority. In the Congress of the Nation Macri has privileged the line of succession, placing lawmakers from the PRO as Provisional President of the Senate (Pinedo) and in the Presidency of the Lower House (Monzo). In this House, Cambiemos has 88 national congress members -41 of PRO. With his 40-member inter-bloc, Massa remains in an independent position. But it is not clear how key positions such as the Commission on Agreements in the Senate, on impeachment and budget and finance will remain as well as the bicameral commission, which validates the necessity and urgency decrees.

3. Meanwhile Peronism enters an uncertain situation and its relationship with Kirchnerism becomes the central issue. A spokesman of Cristina (Kunkel) has said that she will be President of the PJ, as was her husband in 2008 after leaving the Presidency at the end of the previous year. The President of the FPV, Héctor Recalde, said that she will remain the leader of peronism. But experience shows that after a crisis in a presidential election, Peronism is rearranged according to the results of the next election: in 1985 with the triumph of Cafiero over Herminio Iglesias in the province of Buenos Aires; in 2001 with Duhalde in the same district and in 2005 with Cristina's victory over Chiche Duhalde in the Buenos Aires province territory. For this reason, both the President and Scioli and Massa are considering to ru for the election of national senators which will take place in this province in 2017. But the situation is fluid and the leaders of the now non-K peronism, as Urtubey and Gioja, met with Massa proposing his return to the PJ, without getting a positive response by now.

4. The conflict unleashed around the transition anticipates the kind of opposition that Kirchnerism will have against the new Government. There is no precedent for this situation in the Argentine history, not even when a de-facto government transferred power to a constitutional administration. Cristina wanted the power transfer to be her farewell rather than the start of a new Government. At the same time, Macri's decision to resort to the court may not have been the best. The director of the intelligence service (Parrilli) said that this lawsuit was an attempted "coup d'état", the same that the Attorney-General (Gils Carbó) contends in relation to Macri's request for her to resign. December 9 is Cristina's last day in office: she is going to celebrate the mounting of a bust of Néstor Kirchner at the Government House, invite her militants in and out of the House and talk before them for the last time as President. At the same time, the Senate will discuss her bills: creation of a State-owned coal company in Santa Cruz with a capital of 5 billion pesos, the validation of the decree which extends to all provinces the Court decision that returned to them 15% of co-shared revenues for the ANSES and the promotion of diplomats and militaries. But Macri's action will soon start to remove the structure of power that Cristina leaves in areas such as the Central Bank, the AFSCA and the AFTIC in the media and justice through the Attorney-General of the Nation. Kirchnerism will try to make every action in this field a battle of "resistance".

5. To conclude:

a) Three days after taking over, Macri will call former presidential candidates and governors to propose a "governance pact", termed as he finally decides.

b) The PRO cabinets show the same structure of not creating a coalition government but Vidal achieves a broader and stronger parliamentary coalition than that at national level.

c) Peronism hits an uncertain situation which will be solved after the 2017 election, as the division between Peronists and Kirchnerists starts at the provincial Senate.

d) The conflicting transition between Macri and Cristina anticipates the kind of opposition Kirchnerism will make; the question is until when Peronism will follow it.




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