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Argentine Political Outlook (19-10-20) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Oct-19-20, by Rosendo Fraga

1. The 75th Anniversary of October 17 allowed Peronism to regain its political role, although it also showed its divisions. Alberto Fernández was not questioned by any of the sectors of the ruling party. On the one hand, the CGT, which was the pillar of the commemoration, coexisted with the caravans organized by the Truckers union led by Hugo Moyano. On the other, the role of La Cámpora differentiated from the CGT became evident. While unions focused on the symbolic figure of Perón, the political group used that of Kirchner to identify itself. Seven governors attended, but without a preponderant political role. Alberto Fernández' visit, accompanied by the Governor of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof, to Martín García Island - where Perón was detained in October 1945 - showed the president in line with a Peronist identity and leaving aside his phrase of "I am son of the hippie culture more than of the 20 Peronist truths", which he stated in an interview with Jorge Fontevecchia 4 months ago, or his praise of Alfonsín, assuming a social democratic line. Cristina chose not to attend and in her social media posts, she praised Kirchner, but ignored Perón. After six months in which the opposition dominated the streets, the rallies of October 17 showed Peronism in that role. The central idea was to make a social media platform concentrate the demonstrations and make the number of people who joined the rally the priority. That was not possible since this platform went offline and the caravan of vehicles organized by Moyano and groups of militants that in different cities of the country demonstrated in cars in an attempt to reply to the "banderazos" (flag-waving protests) began to acquire more media impact. Within this framework, Alberto Fernández accepted the presidency of the PJ that was offered to him. 

2. But this political success is accompanied by internal "cracks" that have become evident. President Alberto Fernández and Minister of Economy Martín Guzmán attended IDEA's annual virtual conference, a prominent business forum, seeking to improve the image of the business sector. Both tried to show a non-hostile image towards the business community, but Máximo Kirchner said on October 17 that "the markets have to understand that the decisions are made by the Government", generating an image in the opposite direction. Foreign policy remains a controversial area. Venezuela represents differing and even contradictory opinions, and in some cases it is the President himself who changes his stance in this regard. In the face of the illegal land settlements, especially in the province of Buenos Aires, different attitudes also emerge. On October 14, there were 4,000 Buenos Aires police officers to carry out the eviction of the illegal settlers of the Guernica premises, but at the last minute an order delayed the execution again due to the information that there were armed people to resist it. Sergio Massa, speaker of the Lower House and a member of the Frente de Todos, summoned his own party, the Frente Renovador, to meet in November, proposing to expand the ruling coalition to the center sectors. In the municipality of Tigre, the Evita picketing movement prevented a La Cámpora councilor from entering the Deliberative Council. In several municipalities in the suburbs, there is a struggle between the two movements for the control of the structures. 

3. In this framework, the Judiciary continues to be the priority of Kirchnerism. In the coming days, the Supreme Court would rule in favor of the request of the three justices removed by the Senate, but with different grounds. A majority could put them back in office but only until new judges are appointed for their courts. This would imply that the Government's intention to replace them is delayed, but there is the possibility of doing so. But the central political problem is the crisis that has occurred in the unity of the Juntos por el Cambio bloc regarding the appointment of judges in the Senate. It is a politically relevant event which the opposition leadership prefers not to assume. When at the beginning of October, the Kirchnerism that dominates the Senate proposed the appointment of 28 judges and prosecutors, the opposition split up and allowed for it. The appointment of magistrates requires two thirds of the senators present and the total is 72. The Frente de Todos has 41 who attend in their entirety and this time they added one more. But even so, it lacked 7 more seats - it needs half and one more - to achieve approval. Faced with 42 positive votes, 4 of the opposition voted against, 16 abstained and 10 disconnected from the system, so the ruling party had two thirds of those present. The appointment of the judges was thus approved by 42 to 20. The leadership of Juntos por el Cambio, divided in terms of political strategy, perhaps have not attached relevance to the event, because it shows that the ruling party is gaining ground politically in the struggle for the control of the Judiciary. For this reason, the ruling party has started negotiations with UCR senators to vote for Judge Rafecas as attorney. 

4. The creation of the observatory to monitor false information circulating in traditional and social media confirms that this is the second priority of Kirchnerism. It is called "Nodio" - the name is not an acronym, but the combined words "no hate" in Spanish - it is within the scope of the body that regulates the Audiovisual Media System and is led by the defender of the Public Defender's Office, the journalist Miriam Lewin. The media have obviously reacted negatively. In the field of public security, while the crime rate confirms growing figures, the Government had to give in to a threat of strike from the Federal Penitentiary Service, which reports to the Ministry of Justice. They were demanding the same raises that were given to the federal security forces. The Río Negro government, in the absence of support from the national government to evict the occupied properties - several of them from the national state - is preparing to intervene in specific cases such as the family that was surrounded a few days ago by fifty Mapuches. Regarding the pandemic, by number of infected people, Argentina is the 5th country in the world out of 190. But by number of infected per 100,000 inhabitants, it is 7th and surpasses India, which is the second in total infections, and Russia, which is the fourth. In terms of total deaths, it is 12th and for every 100,000 inhabitants it is 13th. Although the Minister of Health, Ginés González García, has stated that the vaccine will be available in March, the truth is that there is no certainty about it or about when the peak of the infection will occur in Argentina. But what happens to the markets, and in particular to the exchange rate gap, will be what sets the political and social speed. 


5. To conclude: 

a. The rallies of October 17 allowed the ruling coalition to regain political leadership and the president was benefited from it. 

b.  But the differences within the Frente de Todos were evident, from a center-right Peronism represented by Massa to radicalized movements of the ruling party participating in the illegal land settlements. 

c.  The Judiciary, which is the first objective of Kirchnerism, will have a definition in the coming days with a resolution of the Court that would be more of an intermediate alternative than a clear political solution. 

d.  The creation of "Nodio" confirms that the media are the second objective of Kirchnerism, but the markets and, in particular the exchange gap, will set the political and social speed in the coming days.

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