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La candidatura presidencial de Sarmiento

A lo largo del libro, se percibe como en la candidatura presidencial de Sarmiento, confluyen por un lado el proceso, por otro lado la voluntad y acción del protagonista y también las circunstancias e imponderables que siempre juegan un rol en el devenir político.  



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Argentine Political Outlook (Oct-02-18) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Oct-02-18, by Rosendo Fraga

1. The trip to the US and the new agreement with the IMF have been the central themes in the Macri Administration last week. The support from the Trump Administration has been crucial in getting the international agency to accept the new agreement, which increases aid by 7 billion dollars and advances the funds assigned in 2020, by 2019. Countries like Germany, France and the Netherlands had a more reluctant attitude, hence the importance of the US support, which will have to materialize at the Board meeting that will approve the agreement at the end of October. Despite this, Macri did not have an interview with Trump. Within the United Nations Assembly, bilateral meetings with other presidents were limited to Spain, Cuba, Albania and a joint meeting with the Presidents of Mercosur. Macri's address before the UN Assembly sought convergence with the US, both in questioning Iran in the global arena and Venezuela in the regional arena. Regarding the agreement with the IMF, it should be remembered that three in four in Argentina have a negative opinion about it and that even among Cambiemos voters, more than half have the same position. In foreign policy, Macri seeks to boost the benefits from the G20, trying to transform "heads of state" visits those of Trump, Xi, Putin, Modi and Macron. 

2. The resignation of the Central Bank Chairman was a negative political impact for the government, regardless of whether or not it was discussed with the Administration. It had a negative effect on the efforts of the President to rebuild economic credibility, meeting with investors and the media. Several of them, such as the Financial Times, strongly criticized the timing of the resignation. The presidential entourage that was in the USA was taken aback, and the President had a long telephone conversation with Luis Caputo. The positive thing for the government is that there is now a unified economic leadership, with the Minister of Treasury and Finance (Dujovne) and the Central Bank Chairman (Sandleris) working in the same line and in a coordinated way. At the beginning of September, Macri had planned removing the former and strengthening the latter, but ended up the other way around, which shows an erratic conduct. As soon as Caputo resigned, a federal prosecutor (Delgado) asked to investigate him for influence trafficking, incompatible negotiations and fraud. Beyond what happens with this case, it proves that the legal future of the officials of this Administration will not be easy. But the question is whether the markets during this week will give a positive answer or not to the change in the Central Bank leadership and the implementation of the new agreement with the IMF. Meanwhile the national leadership of Cambiemos met to resume the initiative, with Vidal, Larreta and Peña, but without Macri, Carrio, Sanz and Monzó. The support for Macri's re-election, announced by the President earlier this week from the US, was ratified. It was decided to begin organizing the electoral campaign one year before the elections, with Peña as the head, as happened in the previous elections. Although he has lost influence in the control of the administration, he still remains the key official for Macri in the political-electoral sphere and he will be in the Lower House in Oct 3 to report about the Administration in a meeting that will not be easy. (Last month it was the first meeting cancelled since the government took over). Today's taking-of-oath of the new President of the Court (Rosenkrantz) is positive for the government, which allows for limiting risks in the highest court. 

3. The fourth general strike during the Macri government that took place while the President was in the US is the strongest this government has ever had. It showed absolute union and social convergence. The "dialogist" Peronist unions in the CGT launched a strike for 24 hours; the "hard" Peronist guilds led by Moyano and the combative unions represented by the three factions of the CTA, halted activities for 36 hours and demonstrated in downtown Buenos Aires. The Social Movements accompanied the protest of the hardest guilds, marching and organizing popular pots. The left parties followed suit, including roadblocks in different routes and avenues in the main cities of the country. The acts of violence were only two (Molotov bombs against Border Guard center and a bus that was set on fire in Mendoza). It is not clear how the "fight plan" will continue, but the protests will go on as early as this week: on Monday the "Federal March" of the Roads Guild takes place; on Tuesday, a national strike of the four railway guilds, on Thursday the march of the industrial guilds towards the Ministry of Production and throughout the week, the CTA will be setting camp at the gates of Congress. The new social agreement will imply a higher social cost in terms of poverty and unemployment. The question is whether the government can contain social conflict, when inflation in the coming weeks is high.

4. Last week, the anti-K Peronism showed signs of getting ready to reorganize itself politically. The "photo" of Schiaretti, Urtubey, Massa and Pichetto attempted to be the starting point of this movement. But at the same time, the "photo" of the Interior Minister (Frigerio) with the governors of La Rioja, Catamarca, Tucumán, Santiago and San Juan showed another side of the Anti-K Peronism that is not ready to subordinate to the first. As for the budget negotiations, the Minister of the Interior has managed to have 15 of the 22 governors who last year signed the "Fiscal Pact", agree to amend it, a necessary condition for the deal around the budget. Achieving 5 more would solve the problem. Kirchnerism is on the defensive, the leaders of La Campora began to testify in the "Notebooks case" and this week the trial for illicit enrichment against Jaime and De Vido is resumed. At the same time, the investigations into the Odebrecht case and the fines paid for the Sarmiento Railway excavation, involving a company owned by the Macri family (Iecsa), are ongoing. The next weekend is the youth pilgrimage to Luján, which will involve hundreds of thousands of young people as they do annually. This happens when the Catholic Church is playing a more important role in the dialogue between unions, business sector and government and the distribution of food. 

5. To conclude:      

a) Trump's support has been decisive to get a second agreement with the IMF, given the reluctance by some European countries, but the outcome has not been clear to rebuild credibility in Argentina. 

b) The circumstances of the Central Bank Chairman's resignation did not contribute to it, although there's a unified economic leadership now, in times when Cambiemos relaunches Macri's reelection campaign. 

c) The general strike that took place in the last week of September has been the most important of the four that the Cambiemos Administration has endured, and the social conflict is slated to escalate, adding uncertainties. 

d) The anti-K peronism is active, although with some dissent, as the talks between Frigerio and governors over the budget advance and the Church is playing a more relevant role in the social field.

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