Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Cristina 2.0: then what?

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on June 22, 2011

by Jude Webber for Financial Times – Beyond Brics, June 22nd, 2011.

Game over? Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández, has finally confirmed she is running for reelection and looks unstoppable in her bid to win a second term.

So the flame of Kirchnerism, as the brand of populist politics she inherited from her husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, is known, looks set to burn on. But will it flicker and sputter or burn brighter? Will Cristina, as she is universally known, be a lame duck (she cannot seek re-election) or, as she has vowed, a “bridge” between an old and new guard in Argentine politics?

When Kirchner handed power to his wife in 2007, he looked like he was passing the buck. He had taken, as he liked to recall, a country in “hell” after its monster default on nearly $100bn in 2001, and restored it to enviable growth. But many believed that the kind of emergency measures he adopted – including heavily subsidised energy and transport prices – would have to be unwound, and that this would prove painful. His wife was the one who was going to have to do the dirty work, it seemed.

But she did nothing of the sort. Buoyed by roaring prices for the agricultural commodities of which Argentina is a major world producer, she has stoked the economy, let inflation rise and told anyone who disagrees with this policy that they are wrong. Many people agree with her and so she looks on course for victory – perhaps even in the first round – head and shoulders over a divided opposition in which the Radical Party’s Ricardo Alfonsín looks set to be her main rival. (continue reading… )

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