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Inicio arrow Análisis arrow Argentine Political Outlook (Oct-24-16)

Argentine Political Outlook (Oct-24-16) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Oct-24-16 - by Rosendo Fraga

1. The Government has attained a somewhat relaxed stance with unions and social movements and the meeting between Macri and the Pope has contributed to this. The meeting with the CGT and the main business entities allowed to agree on a bond to be paid at the end of the year, which has a base of 2,000 pesos. With this agreement, the Peronist unions confirmed the postponement of the possibility of general strike for 2017. It is a general agreement, including business sectors which claim they cannot afford it and the same happens with some provinces and municipalities. At the same time, the Government met with the social movements, with the participation of the Church, agreeing on the payment of a 1,000-peso bonus at the end of the year, for those who are paid minimum pensions and the families who receive the universal child allowance. There are sectors of the Peronist trade unionism such as the Federal Current and the combative one as one of the state unions (Ate) who insist on a national protest in November and some social movements threaten to launch "thousand roadblocks" if compromise is not expanded. But most of the unions and social movements have opted for a pro-dialogue position. The attitude of the Episcopate to help prevent violent conflicts by year-end, supported by the Pope, has helped to ease the position of unions and social movements, when the third quarter of the year continued to show negative data in the social sphere and consumption, despite the "green shoots" emerging in some activities.

2. In the negotiation with Peronism, the budget approval is the priority for the rest of the year. The agreement was to co-share half of the National Transitory Treasury Advances granted to some regions -limiting the discretion of Executive- and the government submits a bill to reduce the redistribution of allocations under the "economic emergency" plan to only 10%. Governors ask that such percentage be 5% and that the Executive expands the authorization to take debt in 2017, which is an election year. The government hopes that this week, the plenary commission of the Lower Hose, issues the budget bill so that it gets the preliminary approval on November 2 and before the end of November, it can be passed with the Senate's approval. Meanwhile, the unit or division of Peronism in the province of Buenos Aires is a key issue for the national outcome of the election to be held in October next year. Today a united Buenos Aires PJ seems unlikely. Nevertheless, on October 26 in Lobos, the Justicialist mayors of the "Esmeralda group" district, who question Cristina, those of the "Fenix Group" who do not confront her but argue that she should not be a candidate and Kirchnerists will all meet to approach positions. The government will extend the Congress sessions ending on November 30.

3. Meanwhile on Thursday 27 Cambiemos presents its "National Table" seeking its political revival one year before the elections. Previously, on the weekend Macri led the seventh national "bell ringing" campaign, looking to revitalize his coalition. Although the Radical Party calls for more access to decision-making and greater participation in power, the fact that Ernesto Sanz is part of this table evidences that this conflict is under control. She will also participate in Elisa Carrio. If Martin Lousteau finally decides to lead an alliance in Buenos Aires to confront the PRO, it will imply a break in the Buenos Aires district's Cambiemos -and then Carrio could head the list of candidates for congress members for PRO in the district in alliance with her party (Civic Coalition). The differences between Radicalism and PRO have been evident in some bills, such as Public-Private Participation. But negotiation with Massa is still needed by Cambiemos. The Frente Renovador was instrumental in the Lower House's discussion of the bill to limit the power of Attorney General Gils Carbo and sets a time limit to her duties. So it is for the budget negotiations in the Lower House and the same happens with the Governor of Buenos Aires (Vidal), who negotiates the approval of the provincial budget with the former mayor of Tigre.

4. Cristina's political role is controversial in Peronism, but also in Cambiemos. Cristina is not in a position to win the election of senators in the province of Buenos Aires, but she may come second, with a Peronism which will go divided in at least two alternatives, since Massa will hardly accept to compete in the open primaries within the PJ. The idea that the government seeks to delay the lawsuits against the former president to allow her to be candidate, started gaining some credibility after the public statements of the Minister of Justice (Garavano), that she cannot go to jail. Stolbizer complained about this situation and Massa endorsed her. Within the Cambiemos electorate, this situation began to generate a cost to the ruling coalition. By the end of last week, the Minister of the Interior (Frigerio) asked the judges to speed up the lawsuits of corruption and the government announced that the former president who is collecting two pensions, hers and her husband's, should opt for one. Two federal prosecutors (Mahiques and Pollicita), extended the complaint against the former president in the case that relates her to Báez, by which she must appear before Judge Lijo on Oct. 31.

5. To conclude:

a) With the Pope's support, government has succeeded in the conflict with unions and social movements, with an incipient agreement to pay a year-end bonus to both sectors.

b) The negotiation with Peronist governors and legislators around the 2017 budget moves on positively, and could be decided in the Lower House this week, with a final approval in late November.

c) Cambiemos launched its seventh "bell-ringing" campaign led by Macri and relaunches its National Round Table this week, with a view to the October election of next year.

d) The idea that government could delay the lawsuits against Cristina led the ruling coalition to request through the Minister of the Interior to speed up the corruption cases and demand Cristina to opt for one of her two pensions.  

 
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