Wednesday
December 13, 2017
Friday, June 16, 2017

Electoral fronts lack primary importance

One general observation about the alliances for the midterm elections which expired yesterday and one specific case. The general comment is a tendency to deny voters internal choice which perhaps finds its most absurd expression in Formosa’s Renewal Socialist Let’s Change Front, an eclectic conglomerate against the Peronism which has ruled that province for the last 34 years running. And the specific case is, of course, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The ex-president has had an uncanny knack throughout her career for seizing the protagonism in politics, wrongfooting both adversaries and the media, but her latest move would have seemed inconceivable a month ago — dropping out of mainstream Peronism in Buenos Aires province to form the Civic Unity Front consisting of five minor parties, of which only Martín Sabbatella’s New Encounter has any profile. Quite apart from the obvious disadvantages of sacrificing the historic imagery of the Peronist brand name and the millions of pesos of statutory campaign funding accruing to the Justicialist Party, this was inconceivable for two basic reasons. One is that if there is any district where Kirchnerism could prevail over Peronism, it is Buenos Aires province and secondly, because everything indicates that CFK (who enjoys high popularity ratings almost exclusively in Greater Buenos Aires) needs to multiply and not divide with nothing to spare. This extravagant and telltale authoritarian move of dubious legality was aimed at ruling out competition with her former Interior and Transport minister Florencio Randazzo. Only two years ago this despised adversary was being plugged as the perfect representative of Cristina’s “national and popular” government at the expense of a lame Daniel Scioli. Randazzo continues vindicating Kirchnerite policies to this day but for CFK’s most convinced allies, he is a battering-ram for Clarín.

By October 22 when the ballot-boxes are opened, we will know if CFK succeeded in reinventing herself despite implementing a strategy which might almost seem designed by the Mauricio Macri government or if she should be consigned to the past (above all, if she cannot even scrape the third Senate seat). Unlike their leader, the Kirchnerites in the Federal Capital and Santa Fe have teamed up with traditional Peronists and centre-left groupings, offering different alternatives for the August 13 primaries — among the few to respect a system whose standards seem too elevated for the Argentine political leadership. The Let’s Change ruling coalition has blocked off any internal elections with only some overacted complaints from the Radicals. The Trotskyist left has agreed on single lists in the most important districts, abandoning the contested primaries of 2015, which drew more interest and votes. As for the alliance 1 País, the egos of its leaders Sergio Massa and Margarita Stolbizer conspire against a competition which would make the identity of that front even more confusing for voters.

Yet the formalities of electoral nominations all seem a game when compared to the real issues in the months to come — a mediocre economic situation and the trickle of scandalous revelations from the Odebrecht graft.

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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia