In Argentina, "Peronism will continue to take center stage for at least the next ten years"

While the movement created by Juan Domingo Peron is about to return to power in the October 27 elections, political analyst Rosendo Fraga explains the reasons for his resilience.

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Cristina Kirchner, October 24 in Mar del Plata.
Cristina Kirchner, October 24 in Mar del Plata. Natacha Pisarenko / AP

After four years of absence from Casa Rosada, the Argentine presidential palace, Peronism should, unless imponderable, return to power on December 10. In presenting his candidacy for the country's vice-presidency, behind Alberto Fernandez for the post of president, the former head of state Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (2007-2015) has achieved a feat: that of reunifying Peronism.

This political movement from General Juan Domingo Peron (president between 1946 and 1955 and from 1973 to his death in 1974) almost three quarters of a century ago had given the working class a series of economic and social rights. A movement capable of welcoming the most neoliberal right as the most radical left, and with a phenomenal capacity for co-optation. Between 1989 and 1999, Peronist President Carlos Menem, for example, applied austerity measures, indebtedness and privatization contrary to what Peron advocated.

In the 2015 presidential election, the Peronists were divided. Sergio Massa's candidacy against Cristina Fernandez's colt Daniel Scioli helped outsider Mauricio Macri win, with Massa winning 21% of the vote. A scenario that had been repeated in the mid-term elections of 2017, won once again by Proposal Republican (PRO), the movement of Mauricio Macri.

Rosendo Fraga, political analyst and director of the New Majority Study Center, explains why Peronism, which will celebrate its seventy-five years of existence in 2020, continues to dominate Argentine political life.

You once said that the political maneuver of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is "both a candidate and at the same time is not," was particularly adept. How was it?

This is the first time that Mauricio Macri confronts a united Peronism. Cristina Fernandez learned the lesson of the two defeats of 2015 and 2017. She has always retained a third of the votes at the national level, just like Macri, by the way. But a third, it was not enough to win. It has therefore made an alliance with the Peronism sector led by Sergio Massa, whose campaign leader Alberto Fernandez was in 2015. With their votes, it reaches almost 50%. On the other hand, she has appointed a more consensual, moderate and less divisive presidential candidate, downgrading herself to the rank of vice-president. It was a brilliant strategy to return to power, which no one had anticipated.


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