“The Impact of President Alberto Fernández’s Decision to Withdraw from Presidential Race Amidst Economic Turmoil in Argentina”

2023-04-22 05:37:10

In the midst of a strong attack against the peso, in a very vulnerable situation for the Government, and after making an effort to send all kinds of signals to the markets, the decision of President Alberto Fernández to withdraw from a second presidential term appears more like a forced one. by strong destabilizing pressure than as a consequence of the internal process in the Frente de Todos.

The presidential decision was part of the internal debate in the ruling coalition, since shortly before the midterm elections, based on the results of the negotiation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). There were signs of danger, but the most compelling were those 2021 legislative elections in which the ruling party lost almost four million votes. There was no move to Together for Change. Some voters migrated to Javier Milei’s eccentric and disjointed speech, but the majority stayed at his house and did not go to vote.

In that debate, the President implied that he saw these results as a snapshot of the situation and that they could be traced back. He maintained his intention to run for re-election until the last minute. During that period, then-minister Martín Guzmán was unable to curb inflation and weakened the reserves. And there began the pressure from exporters for a devaluation. Guzmán resigned and Sergio Massa took over, more active, more political and more pragmatic than the outgoing minister.

Despite the hyperactive minister, the impact of the war in Ukraine on food prices, the restrictive clauses of the agreement with the IMF and the devaluation pressures from exporters and speculators, also crossed by the expectation of an election year, led the indexes of inflation to its highest marks and the blue dollar jumped due to speculative pressures.

Alberto Fernández dumped all the responsibility for economic policies on Sergio Massa, who accepted that division of labor that put his destiny on the burning embers of high inflation that does not subside. Massa collided again and again against the non-compliance of the price makers and the increasingly abusive demands of the exporters.

In the bid for prices, the Government has maintained a dialogue position that the counterpart did not respect. In this logic, the Executive would have to reinforce its demands, but it is not the path that was chosen, in order to avoid a confrontation scenario, which then was transferred to the consumer people. It is a scenario led or created by the so-called red circle that at the same time has managed to install in the opposition a discourse that meets their expectations.

Argentine history has shown a thousand times that regimes based on repression are not sustainable over time. They fall sooner or later. Every time the representatives of the right-wing opposition of Juntos por el Cambio or those of Milei are questioned about how they would deal with the popular discontent that the measures they announce would cause, the response is more repression, regardless of the number of Argentines who die in resistance to those measures. measures.

That Argentina already was. And she left a balance of pain and shame. However, these threatening responses were received with applause from some sectors, at the Llao Llao Forum, the meeting of businessmen in Bariloche, where the right-wing candidates exhibited.

All announced devaluations, adjustments, lower taxes and some outlined more absurd proposals such as dollarization. Implicit in each of these words is the decrease in wages, pensions, social policies, investment in public works and subsidies to stimulate national industry. And the whole results in extraordinary profits for concentrated capital, exporters and speculators, reduction of the internal market, more paralysis, closure of medium and small companies and increase in unemployment.

A survey among businessmen showed that the figure that generated the most sympathy in that environment was Patricia Bullrich, the former minister of Fernando de la Rúa and Mauricio Macri and whose speech is just one range below the violent and threatening voltage of Milei’s. Any of these characters represents a black scenario for workers, employees, the unemployed, professionals and small and medium-sized industrialists and merchants who today are severely punished by the skyrocketing prices and the dollar.

The internal debate in the Frente de Todos was very marked by the lack of communication between Cristina Kirchner and Alberto Fernández. At that time, there was a conviction without evidence against the vice president and an assassination attempt against her person. It is probable that the President believed that his authority was affected by the strong presence of Cristina Kirchner and wanted to mitigate that effect to strengthen her position. But the result was not greater strength, but weakening.

Alberto Fernández’s decision cleared up a mystery that arose in the election process of the Frente de Todos candidates for these elections. The corrosive effect of inflation made all sectors of the ruling party distance themselves. Even the CGT, whose leadership constitutes one of the sectors closest to Albertism, issued a very critical document this week.

The presidential decision to step aside in the elections also created a complex situation for the ruling party. It is evident that this presidential attitude will not stop the pressure on prices and the dollar, which at this point has shown that it has a political rather than an economic foundation. As happened before with Raúl Alfonsin, what is being sought is an early exit from the Government with the consequent political crisis that would imply.

The crisis is the figure that demands order. And in a crisis, order prevails with repression. Overall, it is a way of disciplining or encouraging society so that it resignedly fits into the adjustment and impoverishment plans put forward by all right-wing candidates.

For the Frente de Todos, this maximum scenario to which devaluation and inflationary pressures point becomes the event to avoid. The presidential decision to stay aside from the electoral competition paved the way for the mosaic of forces and currents that make up Peronism and the Frente de Todos to unify in the effort to reach the end of the period and, at the same time, to do so in a competitive position.

It is a complex picture of the situation: it must support institutional normality, but in order to do so and not lose strength, it must at the same time try out more energetic strategies that contain inflation and devaluation. And in that way he has to decide the candidacies. With free hands, the opposition took the lead and already has several of its candidates positioned in all categories.

And he was able to do it practically without a speech that showed a path and candidates with different proposals. At most it has been a competition for who was the most hater and more to the right. Alberto Fernández’s announcement appears as the last notice for the Frente de Todos to put together a proposal with the capacity to pull wills.

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