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Argentine Political Outlook (Jun-16-19) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Jun-16-19, by Rosendo Fraga

1. June 12 is the deadline to formalize alliances and Peronism confirms its tendency to reunification. The three Justicialist governors who were reelected on Sunday, June 9 (Tucumán, Entre Ríos and Chubut) have given signals in favor of the Fernández-Fernández ticket. The presence of Massa in the last province supporting the triumph of Governor Arcioni, is already part of the PJ unity process. The "Patriotic Front" is the name of the political party that will support the ticket led by former President Cristina Kirchner as candidate for Vice President. This week she begins a tour of the provinces, beginning with Santiago del Estero -the province in which she has obtained the highest results in previous years- presenting her book and seeking to unify her political strength. This Front includes the PJ, Unidad Ciudadana and Massa's Frente Renovador to which approximately 14 additional smaller parties will join. The Alternativa Federal -which was the main political expression of the anti-K PJ- is dismantled and with no chances of recovery as a competitive option at the national level. On June 12, a leader of this sector, Governor Urtubey, will launch his candidate in the province of Buenos Aires. It is an initiative aimed at dividing the Peronist vote in the province of Buenos Aires and favor in this way the re-election of Vidal, but that has lesser scope than if it were Massa who presented a candidate. As for Senator Miguel Ángel Pichetto, he has said publicly that between Cristina and Macri, he will vote for the latter. 

2. In Cambiemos, the coalition's expansion and the election of the candidate for the Vice Presidency concentrate the internal debate. Between Monday, Jun 10, and Tuesday, Jun 11, there will be several meetings in the entourage of Cambiemos to define both matters. The winning radicals of the primaries in Mendoza (Cornejo) and in the election of governor in Jujuy (Morales) demand the extension of the coalition to other political sectors and that the candidate for Vice President embodies this policy. It should be noted that in three of the five districts that held elections on June 9 (Mendoza, Tucumán and Chubut) the parties representing the national government have dropped the name Cambiemos and one of its arguments has been to receive sectors outside the coalition. The Governor of Buenos Aires, Maria Eugenia Vidal, sees the possibility of a provincial alliance with Massa far away and this complicates her chances. With the united Buenos Aires PJ, the election for the governorship gets complicated; instead if it is divided, her chances increase. Massa divided the Buenos Aires PJ in 2015 and 2017 and this was key to Vidal's triumph on both occasions. 

3. The Administration has modified its strategy for the open primaries, assuming that it will have political and economic consequences and that it can not bet only on the polarization in the second round. Until now, the electoral strategy of the national government argued that a triumph of Cristina Kirchner's slate in the open primaries or the first round was not relevant, because in the second, the polarization with Kirchnerism would give her victory again. Although it may be late, the Administration now encourages the presentation of presidential candidates for the anti-K PJ, such as Urtubey. Even if it obtained 5%, they would be votes that would be taken from Cristina's Patriotic Front. At the same time, it will seek to prevent Lavagna from recovering voting preferences, should the economic tension return. The Front composed of the three parties opposed to abortion, held a demonstration in ten cities on Saturday 8, in defense of a gynecologist who refused to perform an abortion. Electorally, this Front made its debut in the Tucumán election, where it won 11% of the votes and obtained the third place with Ricardo Bussi. The open primaries are made on August 11, in two months' time. Many things can happen until then. But today it is clear that a triumph of Cristina's ticket by 4 or 5 points could heighten the electoral unity of the PJ and at the same time increase the economic uncertainty. 

4. The five provincial elections held on Sunday, June 9, confirm the triumph of local governments and the growing unification of Peronism. Three governors of the PJ were reelected (Tucumán, Entre Ríos and Chubut), also the Cambiemos Governor of Jujuy was reelected and the governor of Mendoza of the same party won, both in the primary within the ruling coalition as in the sum of Peronist votes. So far, ten governor elections have been held, two primaries have not been held yet for governor election and for a provincial election for legislators in Corrientes took place. Almost half of the national electoral list has already voted. The local ruling party won in almost 13. But only two were from Cambiemos. The early elections do not predict the national result, but create a political climate and this has been in favor of the opposition, having won in almost all of the elections, even if they were the ones it governed. For the national government several alarms have been issued. One is the defeat in Paraná, a city that the UCR had ruled for several terms. The other is that the divided PJ combined is having very important differences with respect to Cambiemos. In Tucumán, the PJ added 63% compared to only 17% of Cambiemos; in Chubut, Peronism as a whole reached 68% compared to only 15% of the national government; in Entre Ríos, Peronismo Unido won by 22 points over Cambiemos and in Jujuy -which is governed by Cambiemos- the PJ combined reached 42%, compared to the 44% with which Governor Morales was re-elected. On Sunday, June 16, governor elections are held in four other provinces: Santa Fe, San Luis, Tierra del Fuego and Formosa. In the first, the ruling Socialist Party -which would support Lavagna at national level- will compete with the Peronism that competes with a good candidate (Pedrotti). In San Luis, Peronism has a confrontation between the two Rodríguez Sáa brothers (Adolfo and Alberto). The PJ governs this province since 1983 in an uninterrupted manner. The same happens in Formosa, where Governor Insfrán would get his seventh consecutive term. In Tierra del Fuego, Governor Bertone also goes for her re-election. 

5. To conclude:    

a) The unification process of Peronism continues; the deal with Massa is being brokered and the governors-elect give signs in favor of the Fernandez-Fernandez ticket. 

b) Cambiemos debates the VP decision and the expansion of the coalition, when radical governors make the last arrangements to influence these decisions. 

c) The Administration has decided to give importance to the open primaries, assuming the political and economic consequences, and begins to focus on the vote to its right. 

d) The provincial elections show a widespread trend in favor of the ruling parties, favoring Peronism which rules most of the provinces, something that could also help the national administration.

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