Alberto Fernández must navigate a new stage of Peronism in power, with leadership and programmatic definitions to settle.
With the Argentine elections behind, it's impressive to note the ability of Peronism to regain power, at any cost. Once again everyone thought it was a thing of the past, and once again Peronism has returned, confirming that it remains one of the most vital political movements in the world today.
Now, taking a closer look, one will find huge questions that seem to stem from this new situation. Each incarnation of Peronism has been different from the previous one so that except for certain solvency in the management of power, there is little that can be anticipated about what is yet to come if we look into the past for answers.
Alberto Fernández is the contemporary emergent of a recurring axiom: when different aspects of Peronism join hands, it is rather difficult to lose an election. Fernández climbed on the steamroller that Cristina turned on by giving a step to the side and liquidating her assets for the good of the party. However, he got a margin which turned out to be narrower than expected and perhaps, indulging in an excess of confidence, underestimated the resilience of Macri, who ended up getting the second interesting data of the election.
Macri chose to stand and lean on that anti-Peronist 30 % of the voters and in his final sprint he stretched the difference for over 40 points. That's no small feat. However, all economic and administrative resources and the institutional role have ended up in the hands of Rodríguez Larreta, who combines the luster of a historic triumph with the ability to place himself in the position of the man handpicked by Peronism to lead a "rational" opposition. The resolution of the bid for the opposition leadership, which is practically the same as the 2023 candidacy, is part of what's coming.
Facing these tensions, the season is also open for another high-risk sport: the Peronist internal election.
Within Alberto Fernández's inner circle, some dreamed of exceeding the whopping 54 percent that Cristina took on her reelection bid in 2011. To nip in the bud the doubts that rose from the idea that it was vice the president-elect the one who picked the president. It was not to be, alas. Now it is up to the new President to get political leadership during the exercise of Government that the polls have assigned to him.
Fernández's constant appeal to the Uruguayan plan can be a helpful tool. The upcoming stage needs to recover some of that neighborly sensitivity; dim lights, offering mate at the door, and kind words. It shan't be easy to navigate a fallen economy while addressing core discussions of ideological, programmatic and power definitions.
As president/prime minister of the Peronist coalition that he has to articulate, Alberto Fernández will need to play a game of chess of parallel worlds: reconcile party politics while he succeeds in managing the country. And he has to do it as fast as he can. It could be said that it will be a superhuman effort, but he always wanted to be in this position. He has been preparing for this.
Now let's get to the building site, he's always with the helmet on. Alberto has already won the votes, now he has to win over the markets. That could be simple: It depends on the cabinet he announces. If the crossed veto works out and the most harmless names arrive, the result will most likely disappoint. He needs political and management volume. Internal respect and international acceptance.
This initial stage is more focused on names rather than measures because Macri has already started the country in the path of necessary evils. Everyone will understand if a little more bitter medicine is needed. But the names will offer certainty in the future and solvency in the execution, and that's why they are important.
Politics are Alberto's world. He knows how to say what needs to be said. And when to say it. Surely a wide appeal for unity will follow, to overcome the confrontations and create a national consensus; beautiful words that will later demand actions to dismantle a crack that is still open.
His running mate former President Cristina Kirchner got away with several scores in a single shot, and it shows. Perhaps up to 48 % of her chosen names have turned out to be as comfortable as her favorite shoes. She enjoys it. Humans, when they get what they want, will usually ask for more. It's only natural.
The biggest question, then, is what will be the scope of Cristina's role in the new power scheme. She is head of Buenos Aires' Peronism and the leader who has the 'vision' of the process underway, as Kicillof, her most successful political creation, pointed out. But out there, the world observes and waits.
The relationship with the United States and the IMF are two sides of the same coin that is still in the air. A coin that fell into the fist of Nestor Kircher's Chief of Staff, who was to purportedly remain in the background, and now steps into the limelight as the next President of Argentina. Politics are so fascinating because they allow for situations like these.
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