Friday, December 3

Alberto Fernández faces the Argentine primaries as an examination of his management


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They are called STEP (Simultaneous and Compulsory Open Primaries). The purpose of the call is to define which candidates may be presented to the legislative elections on November 14, where are partially renewed the cameras. For the small games it is an opportunity to run in the first division, for the traditional ones it is something similar to a first round or future forecast (gray, black or white). In the Government of Alberto and Cristina Fernández, the result will be read as a plebiscite of their management in these almost two years of turbulent Administration but also, it will anticipate the possibilities they have to control Congress and the Senate. In other words, to steer with the roller in hand.

Argentines have experienced a tense campaign in the framework of confinement and a pandemic that caused havoc and left a balance of more than 113,000 dead. The struggle for power – winning it or getting closer to it – forced the first swords of the formations to go out into the arena of the rallies. On the side of the Frente de Todos, its leader, current vice president, former president and widow of Néstor Kirchner emulated her best times as a candidate at the end of the campaign. A one-hour speech brought back the adrenaline generated by a mass bath. CFK, the acronym by which she is still identified, fired anywhere but hers. Free because of the armor that its privileges give it, it was encouraged to raise the banner of the fight against corruption as if the past – and the present – did not condemn it – in court – systematically.

The last target of his diatribes was the former governor of the province of Buenos Aires, María Eugenia Vidal, whom he accused of buying a flat in the stately Recoleta neighborhood, with funds of fraudulent origin. Vidal, who changed the province for the city and is a candidate for the opposition Juntos por el Cambio (he competes with former minister Ricardo López Murphy), defended himself and justified the real estate operation with a loan. Both women, since that acquisition, have become neighbors in the Argentine capital. Mauricio Macri, as usual, was the target of “Cristina’s” darts. To the former president awarded him all the evils of Argentina and a debt that the current Government has far exceeded. In the first 18 months (until June) the public debt of “the Fernández”, of 30,000 million dollars, exceeds that of Macri and even that of the last government of the current vice president.

In the campaign of these primaries, which are held today, differences and tensions could be seen in an opposition that, as a whole, could give the “sorpasso” but the polls are not exactly a reliable thermometer of the fever that the population suffers, to For and against, the Government. The vision of the markets and the volatility of the dollar, the only currency in which Argentines have faith, inspires more credibility. The US currency soared last week although on Friday it lost some steam. In any case, it is dangerously close to 190 pesos. This, in a country whose currency was the same value as the dollar until 2002, is depressing. Cautious and as an expression of that distrust of an effective setback for the ruling party, the Merval (Stock Market) closed lower and investors began to detach from Argentine bonds.

Lean the scale

Any result is possible in this battle prior to the replacement of half the deputies and a third of the senators. At the moment, as in tango, it seems that the ruling blocs and their satellites are going “head to head” with the opposition. That said, -and as usual- it is discounted that at most, the ruling party could “Chorear (steal) a couple of points”, in the count but there is also the hidden vote that can tip the balance to one side or the other.

The Juntos coalition offered the image but did not give the floor to Macri in his public acts. The former president seems to be on the way to making the saying of, “others will come, they will do you good,” but it is still fresh in the memory that the promised dream of his government ended in something like a nightmare for the pocket of Argentines. In this context, only parties that achieve more than 1.5 support will be able to compete in the November elections. Some phrases and characters sparked controversy. Victoria Tolosa, head of the list of the official Frente de Todos in the province of Buenos Aires, where 40 percent of the votes are concentrated, did not hesitate to say: «We came to make possible the happiness of a people and the greatness of a country and there is no happiness for a people without fucking “(fucking what Pablo Iglesias would say). López Murphy replied with another more measured and devastating phraseThey are “50 percent poor and have a shattered economy. They are cynics and scoundrels. ‘

New to the electoral ballot but a veteran on television sets, the eccentric economist Javier Milei, proposed “blowing up the Central Bank.” The phrase was almost forgotten after he addressed Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, current head of government of the city of Buenos Aires (more governor than mayor and Juntos por el Cambio): «Like the shitty left-hander you are to a Liberal you can’t even shine his shoes, sorete (poop churro). I can even crush you in a wheelchair, let’s see if you understand ».

Without ordinary but surprising, María Eugenia Vidal’s explanation was found to justify her position against the legalization of marijuana. «One thing is to smoke a joint in Palermo (Buenos Aires neighborhood) on a Saturday night, with friends, relaxed, or with your partner, or alone and another thing is to live in 21-24 (shanty town), in Zabaleta, on 1-11-14, surrounded by drug traffickers and being offered a joint, without opportunities, without going to school or having dropped out ». But, among the most shocking, is that of President Alberto Fernández who came out to defend an enraged and foul-mouthed teacher, with the students who were not Kirchnerists. “That he had that debate is formidable. It opens the heads of the students, it is a way of inviting to discuss, to invite to think and to open the heads of the people ». In the latter, he was right because, due to his ways, he barely missed hitting with a stick.

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