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Política económica para decidir en tiempos difíciles  

Este nuevo libro de Juan Carlos De Pablo, está referido a las decisiones en el ámbito económico en tiempos difíciles, como dice su título. De ser por la historia argentina, se trata de una situación casi sistémica y los ejemplos que da el autor sobre nuestro país, pienso que lo confirman. 

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Argentine Political Outlook (Feb-18-19) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Feb-18-19, by Rosendo Fraga
 

1. The 2019 electoral process began on Sunday, February 17, in La Pampa province, with non-mandatory primaries. This is one of the districts where the Administration could not prevent the primary elections in Cambiemos. The candidate of the UCR (Kroneberger) won over the PRO candidate (Mac Allister), by 66 to 34%. The election for governor will take place on May 19. It is a province where Peronism has never lost for Governor since 1983. Aligning the Radical Party remains the pending issue for Macri in his coalition. The invitation to Martin Lousteau on the tour of Asia aims to convince him to refrain from competing with the President on the August 11 open primaries, as proposed by a sector of the Radical Party. Getting a Radical candidate for Vice President and as running mate for Vidal seems to be the most relevant goals of Radicalism in the pending electoral talks. In both cases, the deadline is June 22 when the candidacies become official. Meanwhile, in several districts, the PRO and the UCR will test their strength in the provincial primaries. As for Elisa Carrió, she pushes to get her own candidates on the slates for the National Congress. She aspires to be with a bloc of 20 legislators, something that the PRO does not seem willing to accept. 

2. For its part, Peronism gains unity in several districts, which does not occur at national level. In Santa Fe, the Peronist, Kirchnerist and Massa's parties reached a unity agreement, promoting the candidacy for Governor of a national senator (Perotti). In Entre Ríos, a similar agreement was reached to support the reelection of the current governor (Bordet). In the province of Buenos Aires, a similar agreement is attempted. The former head of the Buenos Aires PJ (Espinoza) said that provincial unity will be reached to defeat Vidal. The provincial Peronism caucus meets on February 21 in La Matanza. The mayors are willing to acknowledge Cristina's leadership provided that the candidate is one of them. But things are different at national level. The meetings of the IMF mission with opposition leaders put it in evidence. The officials that integrate it met last week with two leaders of Alternativa Argentina: Juan Manuel Urtubey and Sergio Massa. They also met with Axel Kicillof, as the economic representative of Kirchnerism. At the beginning of the week, they will meet with Roberto Lavagna. The former Minister of Economy has gained the support of the President of the San Lorenzo Club (Lammens) and a center-left intellectual (Sarlo). On Thursday, the international organization's experts will have a meeting with the CGT. Cristina continues to seek to lower her level of rejection with her silence, and one of her political operators (Alberto Fernández) in Peronism spreads the slogan "Cristina is not enough to win, but no victory will be reached without her". 

3. Predictably, the social conflict steps up as the first quarter of the year moves on. The social movements carried out the most important march so far this year, demanding the approval of four emergency laws and the increase of social plans. The Minister of Social Welfare (Mrs. Stanley) accused them of extortion, but also admitted that poverty is increasing. The militant trade unions and the left parties marched the next day in downtown Buenos Aires, challenging the Administration's economic policy and asking the CGT to call a general strike in March. After a hundred days without meeting, the steering committee of the workers' confederation might meet again before the end of February. Inflation in January was 2.9% -higher than expected- and food rose 3.5%, at a time when the unions reopen wage talks aiming to recover the loss they had in 2018. But it is the teachers conflict, the one that has more relevance as March 6 gets closer, the scheduled date for the start of the school year. The average salary increase in this sector has been less than half of the annual inflation. The Governor of Buenos Aires (Vidal) offers to equate the salaries of 2019 quarterly according to inflation. The unions do not accept that the loss of last year cannot be recovered, even partially. During the week, the Buenos Aires province professors' bargaining agreement reopens and University professors have asked to reopen their own. 

4. The corruption trials are reactivated at a time when Macri is making an important tour of Asia and the marches in favor of abortion are resumed. On February 20, Judge Bonadio's court will take the testimony of a hundred businessmen and Kirchnerist officials involved in the "Notebooks" case. The charges of attempted bribery of the accused Kirchnerist members by the prosecutor (Stornelli) aims to invalidate the case. A day earlier, the Macri Group officials involved in the "Post Office" case begin to testify before Judge Lijo. In the last week of February, the accused officials of the Macri Administration will testify in this case. As the election gets nearer and it is not clear who the winner will be, some attitudes that seek to show political equidistance emerge in the Judiciary. Macri's trip to India, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates - included at the last minute - seeks to expand commercial opportunities. The first country has minimum trade with Argentina, while the second country is already the fourth buyer. On February 19, marches will be resumed so that the Lower House deals with the abortion decriminalization bill again, which was approved by said House. Although none of the main candidates is considering it at the moment, the subject-matter will be present in the electoral campaign. 

5. To conclude: 

a) The UCR's victory over PRO in the La Pampa province primary election shows the underlying tension in Cambiemos, when Carrió seeks more places in the coalition's slates. 

b)  Peronism has gained unity agreements in important districts (Santa Fe and Entre Ríos), and attempts the same in Buenos Aires, but the split at national level seems inevitable. 

c) The social conflict intensifies as the year's first quarter goes by, but the wage conflict in the teachers' union and the start of the school year are the most important matters for people. 

d)  Macri embarks on a tour of Asia, the corruption cases move in several directions, and the pro-abortion decriminalization marches are resumed.

 
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