Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

President of Argentina Easily Prevails in Primary Election

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on August 15, 2011

by Charles Newbery for The New York Times, August 15th, 2011.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner far outpolled her rivals on Sunday in Argentina’s first national primary, suggesting that she is likely to win re-election easily in the vote on Oct. 23.

To avoid a runoff, the winning candidate in October must get at least 45 percent of the vote, or at least 40 percent with a lead of 10 points or more over the closest contender. Early results in the primary indicated that Mrs. Kirchner, 58, had handily exceeded those thresholds, winning 49 percent of the vote. Ricardo Alfonsín of the centrist Radical Civic Union Party was second with 13 percent of the votes, while a former president, Eduardo Duhalde of a conservative faction of the Peronist Party, was third, with 12 percent.

Voting was mandatory, and people could cast their ballot for any candidate regardless of party affiliation. (continue reading… )

President of Argentina Easily Prevails in Primary Election


Argentina Update: Election Outlook

Posted in Uncategorized by politicalrisklatam on July 28, 2011

by Juan Cruz Díaz for Americas Society / Council of the Americas, July 27th, 2011.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner continues to dominate the political realm in terms of popularity as the presidential October 23 election approaches. After her husband, ex-President Néstor Kirchner, passed away in October of 2010, her approval ratings skyrocketed and remained at a relatively high rate. The outcomes of various regional elections earlier this year also showcased her wide-reaching influence. However, recent adverse electoral results for the ruling Frente Para la Victoria (FPV) party in the city of Buenos Aires and in the province of Santa Fe—two crucial districts—signal discontent among some sectors of the electorate.

Local Elections and Their Impact on the Presidential Race

Mayor Mauricio Macri from the Propuesta Republicana (PRO) comfortably won the July 10 first round of the local elections in the city of Buenos Aires against FPV’s Senator Daniel Filmus, and will most likely win again in the runoff elections slated for July 31. In Santa Fe, Antonio Bonfatti, protégé of the Governor and Socialist Party presidential candidate Hermes Binner, won the gubernatorial elections by a small margin. The wild card of that vote was comedian Miguel Del Sel, who ran for governor as a representative of the PRO party with the support of a large sector of dissident Peronists. Though a runner up, Del Sel’s performance was considered the surprise of the day when he pulled in 35.2 percent of the ballots. Macri, who abandoned his candidacy for this year’s presidential elections, claimed this result as a personal victory, positioning himself as a candidate for president in 2015. The FPV candidate Congressman Agustin Rossi finished in a distant third place.

Opposition leaders portrayed these results as a demonstration that the current administration is not invincible, questioning the validity of opinion polls that depict an easy reelection victory for Fernández de Kirchner (frequently referred to by her initials CFK). While it is true that both Macri and Bonfatti were the expected winners in those local elections, some observers see the results as a window of opportunity for the opposition to become serious contenders for presidency. Still, the opposition remains divided between five main candidates and none poll well enough to currently be seen as a threat to the president. CFK leads all opinion polls and, in most surveys, even tops the requisite 45 percent—or 40 percent plus 10 percent difference with the second-place candidate—needed in order to win in the first round. (continue reading… )

Polling Ahead, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner Unveils Running Mate

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on June 29, 2011

by Roque Planas for Americas Society / Council of the Americas, June 28th, 2011.

With four days to go before the deadline to declare her candidacy, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced on June 21 that she would seek reelection in the October 23 presidential elections, ending several weeks of speculation. She currently leads the pack of presidential hopefuls, with pollster OPSM estimating Fernández would win comfortably in the first round if the election were held today. But given that most observers expected her to run, there was just as much interest in who she’d select as her running mate. Fernández de Kirchner picked a vice president who she praised for his loyalty—economy minister Amado Boudou. Her choice also reflects her intention to make her administration’s economic model, which combines elements of nationalism and state support of local industry with export-driven growth, the centerpiece of her campaign. She described her selection of Boudou as a “redefinition” of the office of vice president, which normally falls to a traditional politician rather than a government minister.

As economy minister, Boudou presided over a post-2008 recovery that delivered 9.1 percent growth over the first four months of this year. The program of reindustrialization he manages has created jobs in the manufacturing sector, winning him points with Argentina’s powerful labor unions. The electric-guitar playing, motorcycle-riding 47-year-old with a winning smile appeals to Argentina’s youth, and some think Fernández’s selection of Boudou may be part of a wider strategy of cultivating new leaders and appealing to a new generation of voters.  (continue reading… )

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… )

Don’t rule out Cristina

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on June 21, 2011

by Daniel Kerner for Foreign Policy, June 14th, 2011.

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been playing hard to get when it comes to running for reelection this fall. “I’m not dying to be president again, boys,” she told a group of trade unionists recently. Similarly elusive statements, coupled with her recent health complications (which prompted her to delay a trip to Mexico in April), as well as grief over losing her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, have sparked rumors that she will step down when her term ends.

Most pundits justify those rumors by pointing to fear-namely, that Fernandez de Kirchner is worried about stumbling under the weight of further political and economic troubles. Argentina’s already high inflation rate is on the rise, and the next government will likely have to contend with growing economic distortions. Moreover, as a second-term president, Fernandez de Kirchner would be a lame duck, and some believe she would struggle to contain the country’s intensifying political pressures. Her ongoing tussle with the head of Argentina’s labor movement, Hugo Moyano, is a good example of the challenges she might face.

But it would be unlike Fernandez de Kirchner to abandon a political battle. If she declined to run, the storyline would be that she couldn’t handle governing without her husband, and it’s hard to imagine her bowing out with that legacy. In fact, she’s more likely to tweak the constitution to avoid becoming a lame duck than to sit on the sidelines during the 23 October election. (continue reading… )

President Cristina Kirchner promises ‘to go for more’ as her popularity is on the rise

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 31, 2011

by Merco Press News, March 31st, 2011.

Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said at a political rally that she’s not the leader of a government but the head of a political project with an agenda and a vision of Argentina, and anticipated she’s “going for more”.

“We’re going for more. We are not going to take one step back. We will never accept anything less than what we’ve obtained in all these years of work. Hope and faith have returned to all Argentines” said the Argentine leader moving closer to an official announcement she will be running for re-election next October.

The latest public opinion polls show that Cristina Fernandez political image is very strong among voters, well ahead of her potential rivals. According to Ipsos-Mora y Araújo poll, 65% of interviews described the presidential image as ‘very good’ or ‘good’. She was followed by Buenos Aires city major Conservative Mauricio Macri with a 30% positive image. Third ranked are Vice-president Julio Cleto Cobos, who has broken with Cristina Fernandez, and Ricardo Alfonsin, both with 27%.

The opinion poll interviewed 1.200 people in Argentina’s main urban centres.

Cristina Fernandez popularity soared last October following the death of her husband former president Nestor Kirchner, and contrary to some forecasts has remained strong.(continue reading… )


Cristina Fernandez election campaign takes off with a resounding success

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 15, 2011

by Merco Press News, March 15th, 2011.

A surprise ruling party victory in Argentina’s first provincial election of the year gives President Cristina Fernandez a boost before her likely re-election bid in October. CFK ally Lucia Corpacci ousted the current governor of Catamarca province, who sought a third term in Sunday’s vote.

She will govern the sparsely populated north-western province, where an opposition coalition ruled for 20 years. Catamarca is home to just 368,000 of Argentina’s 40.1 million inhabitants.

Government officials painted the victory as a show of support for the president and her policies aimed at swift economic growth. Opposition leaders said it was more a vote against politicians who try to stay in power indefinitely.

“Objectively, the election is not very relevant because Catamarca is marginal,” said political analyst Manuel Mora y Araujo. “But it will be exploited to the president’s benefit.”
He added that President Cristina Kirchner’s campaigning in Catamarca had a positive impact since her approval ratings are good. (continue reading… )

CFK on the re-election campaign trail as the ‘natural candidate’

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 14, 2011

by Merco Press News, March 14th, 2011.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is the “natural candidate” for next October election to ensure the continuation of the current productive and job creating model, according to several cabinet ministers who attended a political rally in support of the still undeclared candidate.

“Cristina is the natural candidate to guarantee the continuity of this production and job creating model, but she’s the leader and she manages her political time, so it’s up to her when she feels the time has come”, said Industry minister Deborah Giorgi.

“This year the Argentines will decide in the ballot box the future we want for the country: if we decide to continue developing this project for the political, economic and social transformation which was launched in 2003, or is we turn back to the times of constant belt-tightening, financial speculation and de-industrialization” insisted Ms Giorgi.

Most cabinet ministers and top aides and advisors attended the political rally organized by the Kirchnerite youth movement recalling the 38th anniversary of a political electoral victory which opened the way for the return to Argentina of exiled former president Juan Domingo Peron. (continue reading… )