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Inicio arrow Análisis arrow Argentine Political Outlook (Jul-14-19)

Argentine Political Outlook (Jul-14-19) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Jul-14-19, por Rosendo Fraga

1. One month before the open primaries, the coinciding strategy, though not coordinated, of Macri and Cristina is "hyperpolarization". Two weeks ago, the strategy was "polarization," trying to convince voters that the open primaries are the first round. But one month before the primaries, the strategy of the two main competing forces is to add more than 80% of the votes between the two. It is a matter of creating the feeling that August 11 is like the second round, that is, the election is defined. But the ruling party, at the same time, according to the circumstances, retains an alternative strategy: if it was likely that Cristina won, when the election comes closer, then the strategy that losing the primaries is not relevant will be back, since that happened in 2015 and then the result was reversed in first and second round. The stability of the dollar is the priority in economic matters and the ruling party is gaining some control, although this generates doubts about the future, due to the lagging exchange rate. But exchange stability implies lower inflation and less expensive food and this is what matters most to the government during the election campaign. The public work is the other axis and the strategy of the government is directed towards the most difficult place in the suburbs in terms of electoral disadvantage. But a problem arises: the legislation is very clear in that public works cannot be presented during the electoral campaign, which formally begins on July 12. The third axis is the corruption of Kirchnerism and the government allegedly managed to get the first conviction of Amado Boudou before 11 August. This week, Alberto Fernández testifies as a witness in the case for the memorandum with Iran. In Parque Norte premises, Macri chairs a meeting of all the candidates of the PRO, to frame the campaign in the guidelines defined by Durán Barba and Marcos Peña. They will promote voting turnout -usually fewer people vote in the primaries than they do in the first round - based on the idea that less engaged voters may vote more for Macri instead of Cristina. 

2. This week, Alberto Fernández presides over a meeting to unify the campaign teams of Frente de Todos, at a time when there are tensions within the main opposition party. Cristina's trip to Cuba to visit her daughter gave more prominence to Alberto who disseminated his first campaign spots. But the friction with La Cámpora, led by Máximo Kirchner, also became evident. Although it is a minority sector within Peronism, its relationship with the former President and the role she assigned to them in the slates has reinforced its gravitation. Alberto Fernandez has finished aligning the PJ governors, who have finally given their support, no matter if they have a long or short slate. The exception is the governor of Córdoba (Schiaretti), who meets with him this week, but without breaking his neutrality in view of the presidential election. Something similar happens in the province of Buenos Aires, where the presidential candidate has managed to align Massa and Kicillof to carry out a joint and coordinated campaign with their own participation. The Frente de Todos has shown that irregularities in the scrutiny of the primaries could take place, but the Electoral Prosecutor (Di Lello) minimized this possibility. With a provincial scenario rather unfavorable to the national government, reducing Cristina's advantage in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, is key to Macri. 

3. The electoral "hyperpolarization" deepens and does not attenuate the "crack" that has affected Argentine society in recent years. The clearest and most obvious is politics: Kirchnerism and anti-Kirchnerism. The two main forces have begun to carry out an aggressive campaign. Weeks ago, when Cristina chose a "moderate" figure as a candidate for President and Macri opted for an anti-K Peronist as his running mate -to whom the President gave a role as Vice President-elect in the military parade on July 9- many believed that with these gestures, the crack diminished, but it has not been so, and the campaign will get increasingly harsh. The second is the social factor. The middle and upper classes vote for Macri. The low and middle-low classes tend to vote for Cristina. It is a very marked cut-off, which can dangerously enhance the political crack mentioned above. The third is the generational aspect. The young people vote more for Cristina and the elderly (retired) do it for Macri instead. Finally, there is the one generated between the green and blue hankies. It is the one that crosses the political forces more vertically. It will be expressed in the "ballot cut" for certain candidates, according to the position they have on matters such as abortion. The exploitation of the "crack" can be useful to win an election, but will later make governance more difficult. 

4. In foreign policy, the Secretary of State of the United States arrives next week; on the social front, the unions harden their protests and the military parade tries to capture the vote of this sector. The Executive branch through a decree declared Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, linked to Iran, which admitted its responsibility for the anti-Semitic attacks (Embassy of Israel and AMIA) that took place in the 90s. The Secretary of State of the USA (Pompeo) will visit the country next week and will participate in the events for a new anniversary of the second attack. The aforementioned decree is a request from the Trump Administration that Argentina could not refuse. This week, the IMF approves the fourth revision of the agreement, which opens the way for a new assignment of 5.4 billion dollars. Although it complicates the electoral strategy of Peronism, the strike of the aeronautical guilds and the intention of the bankers to affiliate Fintech workers generated rejections that were capitalized by the Macri campaign. While the CGT does not support a general strike, Moyano seeks to gather supporters to carry out a protest demonstration against the government before the open primaries. The military parade -it was suspended last year and postponed this year, because it was to be held on May 25- is a decision of President Macri, which seeks to recover a vote that it has partially lost in the military sector, which mostly supported it in 2015 and 2017. 

5. To conclude: 

a)  The Macri-Pichetto and Fernández-Fernández electoral campaigns one month before the open primaries are headed towards a "hyperpolarization" that accounts for 80% votes. 

b)  Cambiemos gathers this week to launch its campaign and Peronism also gets together to put it in order, seeking to overcome dissent. 

c)  The ‘hyperpolarization' deepens the ‘crack' which is observed in four areas: political, social, generational and cultural. This may serve an electoral purpose but will affect governance in the end. 

d)  Next week, the US Secretary of States arrives in the country, the trade union social protests compound the Peronist strategy and the parade seeks to regain the military vote for Macri.

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