On 10th December, Alberto Fernandez and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner formally took office as president and vice-president of Argentina. The economic situation is getting more complicated, and Peronism is already showing some internal discussions, a complicated situation for an uncomfortable alliance with Kirchnerism in the “return.” The “cacerolazo” protests are back in Argentina already, but there is no opposition leader to capitalize on the discontent of Cambiemos’ voters. Macri? He is in Qatar, watching football.
After the first ten days of the new government, PanAm Post reviews the new political panorama in Argentina.
The power map
As expected, Kirchnerism has become one of the most important focuses of power. But the truth is that it is not the only one either. Cristina Fernandez’s voice coexists with other sectors such as the governors or Sergio Massa’s Renewal Front, which became the head of the Lower House. The president, individually, does not have a determined political sector of his own. Pure hard-line “Albertism” is narrow, but Fernandez could align different sectors in case of internal or external conflict. His natural affinity would not be in Kirchnerism, but in traditional Peronism, which has already had some friction with La Campora (the young Kirchnerists) in several districts.
Priority: the IMF
Looking at the first steps of the economic portfolio, beyond the fact that there is no determined plan to get out of the crisis, the main objective of the government is to avoid default and to settle its debt with the International Monetary Fund. As the president himself said in his inauguration, Argentina has the will and the intention to pay the debt, but it is not in conditions to respect the commitments as they are planned.
No matter how you explain it, Argentina has doubled the exchange rate. There are already several “dollar” options, in addition to the traditional free and controlled versions. Now, with the new “tax” of 30% on savings and tourism, in theory, to discourage savings in foreign currency, the new process of price readjustment has begun, which will end with inflation similar to the jump in the reference exchange rate. The dollar that was around 60 pesos has been left there only to deceive the export sector, which must weigh its income after the transactions. Abroad, the exchange rate is already above 100 pesos, and this is what exchange offices ask for if an Argentine needs to change a bill.
The former president in Qatar and the “president” in the Senate
The first pots and pans of the new opposition electorate questioned the “Solidarity and Emergency” law in the vicinity of Parliament (with complaints about the alleged violation of the division of powers and criticism of the reformulation of the calculation of pensions) while Mauricio Macri was in Qatar. The former president went to watch the final of the World Cup of football clubs, leaving the Cambiemos electorate on the streets and without a guide. Meanwhile, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner debuted as president of the Senate and behaved strangely on the first day, correcting the legislators who dared to call her “Presidente” or male president and not “Presidenta,” female president as she had desired.
The countryside on the verge of war
The agricultural sector and the producers declared a “state of alert and mobilization” after the imposition of the “emergency” law. There are assemblies and mobilizations along the roads of the country, and the groups organizing these are waiting for a call from the Executive Branch to discuss the new initiatives. In the next few hours, the first 48-hour shutdown of grain trading will be confirmed.