The Kirchners benefit while the opposition is divided
On December 10th Cristina Fernandez and Frente para la Victoria, led by her husband and former president Néstor Kirchner, will lose the absolute majority in the Argentine parliament and will start a complicated stage of coexistence that already sparked great tension.
The parliamentary system was that between the elections of 28 June, Kirchner lost, but the formation of new parliament five months later have elapsed in a divided opposition that gave a feeling of not knowing what to do, while the Kirchner threw themselves into intense activity.
During this time, Kirchner launched two social plans and achieved the approval of the Audiovisual Media Law. They attempt, before reaching the 10th, to get the Congress to give the green light to the Political Reform Act, which also causes division among the opposition.
The new rules would force, among other things, to all parties to hold primaries, simultaneous open and prevent privately paid political advertising. Among its controversial aspects is that no state regulates advertising in election periods, which the government is in a position of absolute advantage.
Eduardo Amadeo, a dissident Peronist says, “Not that Kirchner has spent these last months to revive, while the opposition was not able to assert their vote. The reality is that while there is no formation of the new Congress, it is possible to develop policies or translate specific agreements. ”
According to Amadeo, ‘the first agreement of the opposition will be released on Tuesday with the requirement that the chairmen of parliamentary committees will pass to reflect the new situation. It is not clear, however, if Elisa Carrio will give her vote to move the current chairman of the House, Kirchnerist Eduardo Fellner, although that would be a real call to the public ‘.
In any case, the new Congress would remove an important source of power from the president, which still has two years in office. Although the opposition works as a simple sum of groups, is expected to conclude agreements for disputing the government control of political and social agenda and to paralyze much of official initiatives. The President is left with the possibility of exercising its veto, a prerogative of hard work.
In five months since the elections, Kirchner developed an intense activity. The former president formally regained control of the Peronist Party (PJ), whose president resigned, in theory, the day after his defeat. However, in the PJ, more and more voices of dissent arise. Among others, that of Eduardo Duhalde, a Peronist great baron, ready to use all his power behind the scenes to dethrone the Kirchner.
The former president seems to find little support in the parliamentary groups, emphasizing its role as a possible leader of the Left, despite the continuing financial scandals that accompanied his management and heritage. Kirchner has the support of Carta Abierta, a movement led by Juan Pablo Feinmann philosopher and journalist Horacio Verbitsky, for whom, above all, is human rights policy that developed Kirchner and that allowed prosecution of many of the amnestied torturers from the Menem era.
Within that strategy, in the past two months President Cristina Fernandez announced two social plans: the universal allocation of 180 pesos (32 euros) per child under 18 in families of minimum wage or unemployed, and a fund of 1,800 million euros for cooperatives of unemployed to create up to 100 thousand jobs.
The two initiatives aroused, however, criticism. First, they smell of patronage and second, its particular characteristics. In the case of 180 pesos per child, the measure will be financed with Social Security funds, Anses, ie to be the elderly who advanced the money from their pensions. Moreover, the announcement coincides with news that the Government of the Province of Buenos Aires (with 30% of the population), who ran by a faithful kirchnerista, stopped paying scholarships and grants to more than 250 thousand children in the region and is desperately seeking funds to address these delays.
For its part, the initiative to finance cooperatives of unemployed caused a war between potential beneficiaries, who are fighting to see who gets the largest share. Groups of unemployed complain that distribution is distorted and that funds reach only the loyal to the government.
Social measures will not reassure the street. Quite the contrary, the last two weeks were the scene of intense piquetero activity, with traffic blocks and incidents. The chaos deepened with a strike of the subway in Buenos Aires, caused, not by wage demands, but union fights.
The point is that, according to surveys, 91% of the inhabitants of Buenos Aires wants the government to do something to curb the climate of confrontation on the streets, and that mood is also reflected in a significant deterioration of the president´s image, which fails to exceed 25% of support for many months.
It is in this climate, in which the new Congress will begin its work, with an eye on the elections of 2011 and the two main candidates who will be competing. The radical is increasingly clear: Julio Cobos, current vice president, who defends his high popularity. The question is who will be the Peronist candidate. Some believe that Néstor Kirchner will fight for the nomination and others believe that his image is depreciated and that the PJ will be able to find these two years a surprise candidate.