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Inicio arrow Análisis arrow Argentine Political Outlook (Oct-05-20)

Argentine Political Outlook (Oct-05-20) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Oct-05-20, by Rosendo Fraga

1.  The Supreme Court's decision to accept the per saltum requested by the judges removed by the Senate is a gesture of the Court's independence, but not the substantive resolution of the conflict. The Government had taken a position against this decision before it was adopted: it believed that the rejection of the claim would solve the problem in its favor. It did not see the messages, influences and threats to members of the High Court to achieve said rejection. The acceptance or not of the per saltum as a major political event was the position also taken by the opposition, which celebrated the judicial decision as a political victory. The criticism of the spokesmen of the ruling party, led by Chief of Staff Santiago Cafiero and the undersecretary of Justice Juan Martín Mena, harshly questioned the members of the Court. Within it, the cohesion in favor of accepting the per saltum was total: the 5 justices agreed on the position, beyond the fact that Rosenkrantz made a different argument. But in the 48 hours after the judicial decision, reality struck: this is not a definition of the substance of the problem and there may be different positions among the members of the Court on the matter. The secrecy of the Court was another aspect that bothered the Government, given that the President's communication links with members of the Court - such as Lorenzetti and Highton, appointed during Kirchner's presidency - continue to operate. 

2.  Taking control of the Judiciary is the priority of the Vice President and now she will redouble the bet to achieve it. The first move has been to resume a request for impeachment of Rosenkratz presented by K congress woman Siley. It is an accusation for "delaying" trials against humanity. It is not easy for this to prosper, as in addition to the approval in the Political Trial Commission in the Lower House, it needs two thirds in the Senate for a conviction and dismissal. But it is a move to limit the movements of the President of the Court, whose decision by setting a date for the discussion of the per saltum accelerated the definition. In turn, the Council of Magistrates, which today has a pro-government majority, made a public statement asking the Court to reject the request of the three judges to be replaced in their courts. For his part, the Attorney Eduardo Casal - whose removal has been initiated by the ruling party - ruled in favor of the judges' claim. The underlying issue has to be resolved in the coming weeks. In turn, President Alberto Fernández has been left in a situation of confrontation with the Court that he did not want. This week, he will seek to activate the contacts he has from his time in Kirchnerism, in particular with Lorenzetti. It does not seem easy for the Court to have unanimity on the substantive matter. Finding intermediate alternatives is difficult and the ruling party is between looking for some way out (the Administration) or advancing in escalating confrontation (the vice presidency). Meanwhile, the Senate - it appoints and removes the judges at the proposal of the Council of the Magistrates - began to accelerate the appointment of new Kirchner-oriented judges, modifying the list that the Macri government had left pending. 

3.  Politically, the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of October 17 is a fact that would seek to recreate the political space of the president. After getting its proposal for a popular demonstration -with social distancing- rejected, the CGT's venue on Azopardo Street has been accepted for holding a virtual rally. The idea of generating an event that would allow the ruling party to regain the presence in the street that during the pandemic was in the hands of the opposition with the "flag-waving" was thus rejected. In addition, the idea of the CGT that Alberto Fernández be the next president of the PJ to strengthen his image, is weakened on the one hand by the political progress of the Vice President, and on the other by the negative results of the strategy to confront the pandemic. Kirchnerism for now lets it advance, but holds the alternative that finally the President and Vice President will lead the rally. The governors also participate and more prudently support Fernández's candidacy for party president. The renewal of authorities should have been in the middle of the year, it is now postponed until December, and could be moved to March of next year, provided that the pandemic has had a decreasing evolution. 

4.  But the most critical front for the Government is the economic and social sectors. In this area, the President personally took charge of the contact with the most relevant businessmen through a series of meetings that took place during the past week. In the economic area, the central battle is in the dollar and not in inflation, as expected for the first half. In three weeks the Government has launched two sets of measures: the first failed, the second on its first day of operation showed that it has not resolved the uncertainty. The issue of the dollar today has a greater social projection than in other crises. As the beneficiaries of the universal child allowance, the emergency family income and those who received salaries through ATP are prohibited from accessing the 200 dollars per month of savings, it is clear that it is not the large economic groups that manage the price of the dollar, but that mainly the 40% who are in poverty, according to the Indec information taken in the second quarter and which was released this week. The reaction of public opinion led the government to prevent legislators and officials from being able to buy the $ 200 per month either. The fact that several government officials, including the president of the ruling bloc of the Lower House, Máximo Kirchner, have dollars deposited in their name accentuates the political contradictions generated by the measures adopted to control this problem. The aforementioned poverty index anticipates 45% for the quarter that has just ended, which could be more in the remaining quarter. As is inevitable, poverty among minors reached 53%, indigence or extreme poverty exceeded 10%, this is limitations to access basic needs such as food. The truth is that during the pandemic the social situation deteriorated as was inevitable and, as the Government says, the problem has been mitigated by the measures adopted, but it is true that it did not prevent an increase in inequality as well and a reduction in the middle-class. The land settlement of Guernica in Greater Buenos Aires continues without the Government being determined to confront the occupation. The problem of security in Greater Buenos Aires has multiple manifestations, such as the strike of bus drivers caused by the death of one of them. This fact marked the reappearance of Sergio Berni. The President assumes that the negative effect of his policies for the pandemic is the main cause of the fall in his approval: all of the last 10 polls show that the negative opinion exceeds the positive. This Tuesday completes 200 days of quarantine with the problem growing: Argentina is the 11th country with deaths per 100,000 inhabitants (46.7), the 7th in number of infections (790,818) and 13th in number of deaths (20,795), but in 6 weeks the infections per 100,000 inhabitants went from an average of 107.2 to 198.5. 

5. To conclude: 

a. The Court's decision to accept the per saltum presented by the three Justices removed by the Senate as they hear cases against the vice president, is a gesture of independence but fails to resolve the underlying problem. 

b.  The actions of Kirchnerism to double the bet in view of this defeat started by resuming an impeachment petition against Rosenkratz. 

c.  The rally scheduled for October 17 aims at improving the president's approval, resuming the political thrust of Peronism and showing unity. 

d.  But the economic and social factor is the other complex front for the ruling coalition, when the price of the dollar -beyond the economic aspect- has had a social impact few times seen in Argentina.

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