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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 (Nov-21-18) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Nov-21-18, by Rosendo Fraga
 

1. The ruling party had a victory in Congress with the final approval of the budget bill in the Senate and a defeat in the Lower House with the Council of Magistrates. The agreement with the governors was the key to the first decision. Some 46 senators voted in favor (12 of them from Pichetto's bloc without which the majority of 36 that the ruling coalition required, would not have been reached) and some 24 voted against. In addition, there was one abstention and one absentee (the radical party member, Mr Costa, from Santa Cruz). The amendment to the Fiscal Pact and the change in the income tax would be dealt with in the session on Wednesday, November 23. But in the Lower House, the Peronism got together to appoint the two representatives by majority of the court for the Council of Magistrates, which is in charge of appointing and removing judges. With 131 votes, Mr. De Pedro was appointed by the K bloc and Ms. Caamaño by Massa's bloc. But to reach that number, together with them congress members from the Federal PJ bloc and the new bloc headed by Solá also voted. Cambiemos stayed with the minority, reelecting Tonelli. In the same week, Peronism voted divided in the Senate and together in the Lower House. This cannot be taken as an advance of electoral unity, but as a sign that Peronism from now on, with less than a year to go before the presidential election, will take a tougher stance on the government. 

2. For the ruling party, the problems continue in the Court and the failure to reach two-thirds in the Council of Magistrates anticipate that in the coming months it will be more difficult to deal with the Judiciary. The hearing on the Farmacity case before the Court again showed the differences between Lorenzetti and Rosenkrantz. The former criticized the latter for his connection with the case, despite the fact that he had excused himself from intervening. But the majority composed of Lorenzetti, Maqueda and Rosatti, imposed on the President a timetable for passing sentences in complex cases for the Executive branch, causing him to lose the ability to set the agenda. Accordingly, on November 27, a ruling will be issued by the judges on the payment of income tax; on December 4, the new ruling of two for one, referring to the imprisonment for those accused of crimes against humanity; on the 11th of the same month, the ruling on the constitutionality of the Double Simultaneous Voting law in Santa Cruz will be passed, which may complicate the re-election of Alicia Kirchner and on Dec 18, the ruling on the retirement update index will be issued. An adverse ruling for the Executive in this case, may have negative economic effects. The ruling party has not reached two-thirds in the Council of Magistrates, for which it must have 13 out of 22 members to obtain the qualified majority. It will now have 12 against 10. This will force the ruling coalition to negotiate the required two-thirds both to approve appointments and to produce removals. Between November 22 and 25, a "mega-summit" of the federal judges of Argentina and Brazil will take place in Buenos Aires, who in both countries investigate the Odebrecht case and others derived from the case known as Lava Jato. This meeting will promote these cases in Argentina. 

3. While Kirchnerism pushes the candidacy of Cristina more openly, the ruling coalition seeks to polarize the election with her. The bloc of senators of Cambiemos has asked that this week the Senate deals with the immunity removal of Cristina as requested by Judge Bonadío. As anticipated by Senator Pichetto, president of the Federal PJ bloc, he will not vote for the law. The ruling party knows that it will not have two-thirds for the offense, but it tries to show that Peronism as a whole seeks the impunity of the former President, without distinction of its different sectors. This are the same arguments used by Cambiemos, when they say that the convergence of the PJ in the Lower House with respect to the Council of Magistrates is to ensure the "impunity" of those accused for corruption of the last government. There are several signals that Cristina is gaining supporters. Such is the case of the bloc formed by Solá in the Lower House with a dozen legislators, as the one conformed by Pino Solanas in the Senate in the same direction. The "Critical Thinking Forum" gathered this week in Buenos Aires, as a counterpart to the G20 Summit, has been opened with a speech by the former President. The meeting held at the facilities of Club Ferro has been attended by former President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and her candidate in the last presidential election (Haddad), former president Mujica of Uruguay, the vice president of Bolivia (Garcia Linera) and other leaders of the Latin-American left. Relevant leaders from the field of human rights, such as Carlotto and Pérez Esquivel and pro-Kirchner leaders and allies, also participated. The ruling party thinks that polarizing with Cristina will favor it and will try to promote it. But the fact that she is an alternative will contribute to generating economic uncertainty and this is something that the government does not seem to assume. 

4. Curtailing the protest and avoiding violence on the occasion of the G20 Summit are government priorities. The bonus granted to the formal workers and the limit to the layoffs did not stop last week's aircraft strike, this week's strike launched by Buenos Aires teachers, the march by the social movements to the supermarkets and the partial strike of the transport unions that takes place on the morning of the 27th, two days before the arrival of the G20 delegations. On the same day, social movements protest again. On the 29th, when the delegations arrive, the 22 foreign organizations will gather together with 60 local organizations that will participate in the protests against the Summit. While the UK downgraded from a "very likely" to "likely" the travel advice on terrorist acts on the streets of Buenos Aires, the reality is that the attacks launched by anarchist groups and the arrest of two youths allegedly linked to Hezbollah showed that the risk was true. After the Summit, the government will give a bonus for the recipients of social plans to prevent looting at the end of the year, but the President decided not to extend it to retirees and pensioners. 

5. To conclude: 

a)     The ruling coalition obtained a victory at the Senate with the definite approval of the Budget, and a defeat in the Lower House in relation to the composition of the Council of Magistrates. 

b)    Such voting, plus the differences in the Court and the agenda set for the sentences, anticipate that the relationship with the Judiciary will not be easy for the ruling coalition in the coming months. 

c)     While Kirchnerism openly promotes Cristina's candidacy, Macri wants to foster it to polarize with her. 

d)    The government seeks to contain the protests around the G20 Summit while signs of violent acts during the summit emerge, and seeks to neutralize social protests expected for yearend.

 
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