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

1. Less than a month before the open primaries, the surveys published in July show a narrow edge for the Fernández-Fernández ticket, with Macri discounting. The BTG Pactual Bank official in charge of the open primaries gives 37.8% for FF (Fernández-Fernández) and 34.4% for MP (Macri-Pichetto); the same survey for the general election reduces the edge (37.9% to 36.5%); the one of RDT (Real Data Time) grants 37% to the main ticket of the opposition versus 35% for the ruling party; Giacobbe y Asociados gives 40% to the ticket headed by Alberto Fernández and 37% to Macri's; M & F gives 39.9% to FF and 38.2% to MP, reducing such advantage to less than one point in a survey published a few days later; Opinaia records 32% to 29% in favor of FF; Raúl Aragón, gives 35.8% for FF and 29.7% for MP; a second RDT survey recorded a tie at 35 points; the poll by Ricardo Rouvier gives 39.6% to the main ticket of the opposition and 35.2% to the ruling party and the poll by Analogías, 42% for Fernandez and 38% for Macri. Lavagna appears with very different percentages, ranging between 4% and 13% and something similar happens with Espert, going 4% to 7.5%. Both outnumber the leftist vote. According to the strategy of the Administration, it is better that at this stage the K ticket has some lead to motivate the vote of those who think not to vote in the open primaries, which may favor Cambiemos. 

2. For its part, the ruling party gathered 4,000 candidates in Parque Norte to land the strategy of the national campaign. Although they did not have an opportunity to express themselves, the UCR and CC candidates showed a clear alignment with the national leadership of Cambiemos (which is electorally called "Juntos por el Cambio"), overcoming the resistance that was felt until a few weeks ago. But the central figure was the candidate for Vice President, national senator Miguel Ángel Pichetto. The same thing happened a few days later in Córdoba, where the official campaign of the ruling party was officially launched, in the same province that was held in 2015. The situation was repeated in La Plata at the beginning of the campaign for the re-election of María Eugenia Vidal. It is arguable whether the candidate for Vice President adds on the Peronist votes, but he has enthused the supporters and candidates of Cambiemos, who consider him as if he were the second leader of the ruling party. This week Cambiemos has two problems to solve in Congress. On July 16th, the Bicameral Commission that investigated the tragic accident of the San Juan submarine for a year will release its report. The national government will try to prevent the conclusions from affecting the Minister of Defense (Aguad), who was criticized in the last days even by his own party (UCR) due to a confused explanation related to the carapintadas (‘painted faces'). The other is the attempt that the Senate holds sessions on July 17, to deal with the approval of the list of judges who had been agreed with Pichetto. It is not easy, given that the senator has lost control of the Federal PJ block that he presided over. As for the legislative reshuffle, the ruling party expects a strong increase in the Lower House for polarization. In 2015, it obtained seats for the 30% obtained in the first round and if it now reaches 40% in it, it would significantly increase its number of congress members as of December 10. 

3. For his part, Alberto Fernández failed to unify the different campaign teams, as he intended during the past week. On the one hand, the Instituto Patria manages the campaign of the former President, who continues to present her book as the campaign axis; on the other hand, her candidate for President seeks moderation, but circumstances have led him to confront journalism; a third team is that of Kicillof, in the campaign for the governorship of Buenos Aires and finally the one of Sergio Massa, who seeks not to lose a leading role. Cristina Kirchner returned from Cuba last week and made the presentation of her book in Santa Cruz, whose governor (Alicia Kirchner) holds the provincial elections on the same days of the national primaries. Alberto Fernández did not succeed in ordering the campaign teams and now the candidate for the Vice Presidency must do so, who seems inclined to denounce the Frente por el Cambio campaign as "aggressive and violent" and maintain moderation in the Frente de Todos, which it is the electoral denomination of its political force. The "hyperpolarization" driven by the Administration also benefits the ticket that pushes the former President to the Vice Presidency. This week Alberto Fernandez will meet with the CGT -which is inclined towards neutrality in the elections for now - and will try to make her moderate the trade union protests and social movements, which complicate the opposition election campaign. 

4. This week, the foreign policy will be a central issue with effects on the domestic policy. On the 15th and 16th, the 54th semi-annual Summit of Mercosur Presidents will be held in Santa Fe. In addition to Macri, his counterparts from Brazil (Bolsonaro), Paraguay (Benítez) and Uruguay (Vázquez) will attend. The priority is to accelerate the negotiation of the Mercosur-EU agreement and allow it to be partially governed, if one of the parliaments of the regional group delays approval. The Brazilian President publicly said again during the weekend that Macri should be re-elected, to prevent Argentina from "taking the road to Venezuela", something shared by the Paraguayan President but not by the Uruguayan President. The following day marks the 25th anniversary of the terrorist attack against AMIA. The US Secretary of State will be present (Pompeo). At the request of Washington, through a decree Argentina will declare terrorist only a part of the Hezbollah organization, which claimed the launching of the terrorist attacks that took place in Buenos Aires in the 90s. It is a decision at the request of the Trump Administration, which has already adopted it as well as its allies. Opinions were not unanimous within the government, because some officials fear that it may generate reprisals from this organization, which is an ally of Iran in global conflicts. On July 18, Pompeo will preside a regional anti-terrorist meeting in the Argentine capital. But the fact will help the US government ratify again its preference for the triumph of Macri in the presidential election that takes place this year. 

5. To conclude: 

a) Less than one month before the open primaries, the polls published in the first fortnight show a mild edge for the Fernandez-Fernandez ticket, though the Macri-Pichetto option is discounting. 

b) Macri gathered 4,000 candidates in Parque Norte to put the national campaign in order with Pichetto as the central figure and the Administration promoting polarization and voting turnout. 

c) For his part, Alberto Fernandez did not coordinate the four campaign teams and confronted journalism, while Cristina returned from Cuba and resumed her book presentation. 

d) The Summit of Mercosur presidents will seek to speed up the agreement with the EU and Bolsonaro will reiterate his support to Macri as will the US Secretary of State, who is expected to attend the anniversary of the AMIA bombing.

 
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