July 01, 2009 (the date of publication in Russian)
LATIN AMERICA: THE "LEFTIST MARCH" IS OVER?
The ruling Peronist party has lost the national elections in Argentina
European and US conservative media are excited over the latest political developments in Ibero-America, interpreted as "the end of the leftist march" across the continent. The evidence of the ripening shift is seen not only in the recent putsch in Honduras but also in the outcome of elections in Argentina which is supposed to arouse strong repercussions in neighbor states.
The June 28 elections in Argentina, in which half of the House of Deputies and one third of the Senate were to be re-elected, involved 28 million voters. The lists of candidates included many prominent business figures, as well as governors and ministers. Nestor Kirchner, the spouse and predecessor of incumbent president Christina Kirchner, was among the candidates as well – and was defeated, as well as many of his political allies. This fact alone indicates that the vote really expressed discredit of leftist pro-Government forces.
Christina Kirchner enjoyed a triumphal success in the presidential race less than two years ago. At that time, the Kirchner couple was supported by two thirds of the population. They had deserved this popularity by dragging the country out of a most severe political and economic crisis of 2000-2001, by resolving the problem of domestic and foreign debt, by successfully implementing the reform of the judicial system which enabled to launch a series of criminal investigations targeting corrupted members of the previous military government,
However, the incumbent party entered the election year in a poor shape. The global economic crisis had seriously undermined the economy of Argentine, and a seven-year period of growth was followed with recession. Inflation, according to various estimates, soared by 7-14%, the share of the impoverished population amounting to 12-14 million people. Pauperization was naturally followed with increase of crime.
In addition, the incumbent Justicialist (Peronist) Party, the Christian Party, and the pro-presidential Front for Victory encountered not only a strong challenge from the opposition but also a relapse of traditional factional brawl within the Peronist movement. The split that helped Nestor Kirschner to ascend to power in 2000 now played against him. Opponents from his own party (which include not only social-patriots, the true successors of General Peron, but also socialists, liberals, and even rightist populists), gained new strength, split the party campaign, teaming up into alternative "dissident" lists.
It is noteworthy that those "dissident lists" were headed by a number of well-known and experienced politicians who keenly used the loss of the President's popularity for their purposes – in particular, Governor Juan Chiaretti, billionaire Francisco de Narvez (who surpassed Nestor Kirchner in the race in the Buenos Aires province), ex-Governor Felipe Zola, and others. The opposition enjoyed support from major political media, including the most influential Clarin Group that controls the most popular newspaper along with a half of national cable networks and a multitude of local TV and radio stations.
The results of the elections have unambiguously demonstrated the failure of the pro-Presidential Front for Victory which has lost the majority in both houses of the Parliament, though remaining the strongest among the political parties with 30% of support. In most of the key provinces, the allies of the Kirchner family were defeated by oppositionist and "dissident" politicians. The leading force in the anti-Kirchner camp is the social-liberal Civic Coalition that includes the Civic Radical Union, the oldest party of the republic.
The Presidential couple has recognized its defeat. Immediately, Nestor Kirchner gave up chairmanship in the Christian Party. He will hardly run for Presidency again in 2011. Though the socio-economic situation may change, the Argentinean race is a strong warning for Ibero-American leftist forces: they have to realize that in a pluralistic system, the power that was recently won can be easily lost if the government does not fail to grasp the alteration of the society's "pulse".
Number of shows: 1908