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Cristina Kirchner loses Congress and the opposition redefines itself

“The worse, the better for everyone. And the worse for everyone, the better”. It was mid-2017 and with that phrase the then president of Spain Mariano Rajoy was trying to summarize the strategy of the opposition Podemos party, a kind of Iberian Kirchnerism. The paradox was that in Spain that maxim of Rajoy provoked the general ridicule of society. Here in Argentina, it is a real political strategy enunciated by a sector of the ruling party and the opposition.

The resignation of Máximo Kirchner from the leadership of the block of deputies of the Frente de Todos denotes that the weakness is no longer the property of Alberto Fernández alone, who must be going through one of his moments of greater autonomy in the governing coalition. Political fragility also embraces Christianitywhich with that decision loses the hegemony it held in the National Congress, with Cristina leading the Senate and Máximo, pulling the strings of Deputies.

“A government can face many crises, but when the discord reaches Congress, and it can no longer handle it, the crisis takes on another dimension. just have to remember what happened to the alliance UCR-Frepaso, recalls a Peronist leader, about the beginning of the debacle of the government of Fernando de la Rúa. Unlike that episode, Carlos “Chacho” Alvarez expressed his rejection and left; in this case, Cristina raised her rejection –through Máximo-, but she continues in the vice presidency. A alliancegate Light.

The impact on the opposition

This divergence in the ruling party refracted, unpredictably, in Together for Change, where there are no doubts about the need to avoid default, as expressed by the National Table in a statement. But there are discrepancies about the role that this space should assume.

For the moment, the excuse is the lack of “the fine print” of the understanding with the Monetary Fund. that is, to know how are you going to do the Minister of the Economy, Martín Guzmán, to reduce the deficit to 2.5 points this year, without reservations, with a foreign exchange trap, without cutting energy subsidies too much, nor changing tariffs too much. Worse yet, what has been heard in recent days by Guzmán and the head of AFIP, Mercedes Marcó del Pont, is to go against tax evasion. No one rules out that they can force some tax increase. Otherwise, where would that money come from if GDP growth will no longer be 10% but the projection varies between 3 and 4 points?

On a strictly political level, what divides waters in the opposition is what to do with the opportunist attitude of Christianity, which, as it does not know how to explain to its electorate that it must make an adjustment, does not want to pay that political cost and prefers to reject the agreement outright and let the Albertist Government and Together for Change vote on it. In other words, Christianity will have to update the slogan and from the approval of the agreement outline “Because of Macri… and Alberto.”

There is no lack of drama in some scattered leaders and officials in the ruling party, who perceive that before stepping aside, Cristina and Máximo Kirchner evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of a government implosion. There seems to be no such cynicism at that level of responsibility.

The internal K is so substantial that it splashes on the opposition. Who has a position taken is Patricia Bullrich. The head of the PRO believes that it is essential that before JxC decides its support, the ruling party guarantees that all its deputies and senators, obviously including those who respond to the Patria Institute, vote for it. What Bullrich wants to avoid is Christianity spreading like a stain and ending up being, depending on the case, a kind of government and opposition at the same time. Hence his challenge for the Front of All to repeal the law to Strengthen the Sustainability of Public Debt, which established that any agreement with the Fund must be approved by Congress.

On Wednesday, at the virtual meeting of the JxC Table, Bullrich took his position, which generated some crosses of those who claimed that the position for 2023 cannot be confused with these issues that are very delicate or provide definitions without having previously agreed with their other coalition peers.

If the government sows uncertainty and we feed the uncertaintyWhy would people differentiate between one and the other?raises one of the radicals that make up the dome of space.

One of the first to publicly react to Bullrich’s position was the head of the UCR, Gerardo Morales, who warned that “the PRO is not going to push us from one side to another or lead us by the nose.” In truth, within the PRO the position of Larretismo is diametrically opposed to that of the former Minister of Security.

A meeting of the national Board of Together for Change in 2021. Photo: Juan Manuel Foglia

“The opportunism of Christianity is true, but there is no margin. In Kirchnerism they bet on ‘the worse, the better’. But even with the agreement, this year is going to be very difficultthe situation is very delicate and no one –except the ultra k- is in the interest of this exploding”sums up a member of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s small circle.

In the Civic Coalition they affirm that Bullrich’s position is personal and that he does not represent space. Just in case, Elisa Carrió ruled that the agreement must be accompanied and discussed, because it is necessary to avoid “greater evils” and because she believes that the other option is that of an “unviable” country.

Looking for a definition

Based on this heterogeneity, next Wednesday there will be a new meeting of the National Table of Together for Change -it could be in Vicente López-, but this time it will be face-to-face. The objective is to define a common position, beyond the rejection of the default and the pro-agreement look that they showed last time. They would be more inclined to accompany, as long as the fine print is reasonable, and they would not demand that Máximo Kirchner and company endorse the understanding with the agency.

“Let the Ks say what they want. This is also important for Together for Change if it wants to be a government again, it is a message to the world, to the productive and business sectors here, that we have a republican responsibility and that We do not take this as a competition against La Cámpora”describes an opposition operator.

A thermometer of how labile the economic and institutional situation is the fact that even José Luis Espert expressed to his JxC peers the need to advance in an agreement. Proof that an eventual crash of the program causes a much greater fear.

The new head of the FdT bloc, Germán Martínez, has already had several contacts with the opposition deputies. In one of them, he made it clear that the IMF requires that the agreement be approved by Congress and that beyond some sayings of cristinista legislators in the corridors of the Legislative Palace, there is no margin for not treating it. There has to be approval, yes or yes.

Germán Martínez, new head of the block of deputies of the Frente de Todos.

Germán Martínez, new head of the block of deputies of the Frente de Todos.

With the optimism of someone who is promoted and faces his new role, Martínez is confident of being able to convince the son of the vice president –and therefore, Cristina- and get the complete vote of the entire block of deputies of the Front of All. He knows that voting is by simple majority, so his basic need is to get a quorum and then it doesn’t matter if there are many abstentions.

At times the government seems to be a prisoner of the political convulsions of the front. With Alberto defending, beyond rhetoric, an agreement with the IMF that establishes some economic certainty, but at the same time publicly questioning the link with the United States to embrace an alliance with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Endorsing the march against the Supreme Court in which he described his ministers as “torrantes” and then fantasized about lawfare. Or Cristina, warning that the drug traffickers could come behind the adjustment, and in full exercise of the presidency witness how people die from poisoned drugs in the suburbs, governed for decades by Peronism and today under the leadership of Axel Kicillof .

Resources and even ideas may be lacking when managing, but the absence of coherence is the worst enemy of any Government.

Look also

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The war of Alberto Fernández and La Cámpora and the decision evaluated by Cristina Kirchner

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