On February 12th the Venezuelan opposition is due to hold internal or primary elections to elect the candidate who will face President Chávez in the Venezuelan presidential elections on October 7, 2012.
BY ARTURO ROSALES | JANUARY 13, 2012
However, based on the mood – or absence of it – and the apparent lack of enthusiasm by opposition voters for this democratic contest, the entire hullabaloo of these elections dominating the opposition-run private media for the last year or more could come crashing down around their ears.
At least that is the bet being made by Mario Silva of the popular TV opinion program “La Hojilla" (The Razorblade) broadcast live every night at 11pm, until the small hours, and universally watched and loathed by the fanatics of the opposition here in Venezuela.
In 2006 the opposition cancelled their primaries and decided on Manuel Rosales as their single candidate "by consensus". Latest polls indicate that around one million or fewer people will bother to vote on February 12th to elect the candidate and this would be a political disaster for the opposition. In 2006 they were boasting about 6 million voters turning out and then cancelled the internal elections.
This year, if the opposition decides to select a candidate "by consensus" this will blow the Democratic Unity Table (Mesa de Unidad Democrática or MUD) apart and show the opposition as being undemocratic whereas they always say that they are the "democratic opposition", despite participating in the 2002 coup d’état and the oil industry sabotage of the same year.
If they do hold the primary election and fewer than one million people turn out this is a political abyss for them. Mario Silva maintains that they are awaiting instructions from the US Embassy on what to do.
Since mid December, when it has become crystal clear that Chávez is riding high in the polls, there is waning interest and enthusiasm for the opposition media circus starring the “pre-candidates” for the primaries. Opposition spokespeople have now started scrabbling for excuses such as chavismo will sabotage the elections on February 12th (which is National Youth Day) by holding huge rallies to intimidate voters in Caracas and other major cities. Chavez has given instructions that the only celebrations to be held for National Youth Day will be in Aragua, in La Victoria, a town of around 180,000 inhabitants.
Despite having all that is needed to hold well-organized electronic voting there are still grave doubts that these primaries will even take place. Mario Silva reckons that this situation will be unwound and clarified by January 23rd latest so.......despite all the propaganda and lies spun by the local and international media about the importance of the primaries, the opposition has managed to paint itself into a corner once again. Wavering voters or even moderate opposition supporters will be reluctant to go and vote for one of the six candidates since not one of them has any cogent plan except for opposing Chavez which these days is simply not good enough.
There are various scenarios to be considered. Holding the primaries would be a political disaster for opposition credibility. So, somehow chavismo has to be blamed for cancelling the primaries and selecting the “unitary candidate” by consensus.
The consistent leader of the opposition candidates has been Henrique Capriles Radonski, Governor of Miranda state with well over 50% of voter intention. Second has been Pablo Pérez, Governor of Zulia state. It would seem logical based on the polls that Capriles will be the consensus candidate. However, Pérez’s main party supporting him is Acción Democrática (AD.) AD is by far the best organized and represented opposition party in the National Assembly as well as in terms of mayoralties up and down the country.
AD has the whip hand in this situation. It can bring out voters for the primaries and for the presidential elections on October 7th. On the other hand, Capriles party, First Justice Party (PJ) is very weak in this sense compared to AD nationally and in the real world of voting AD has far more supporters than PJ. In my opinion, if it comes down to a consensus battle, AD will have its man, Pérez, as the unitary candidate and probably destroy the already split PJ party in the process.
The other scenario could be that the MUD will implode and as a result there will be more than one candidate from the opposition side. This will hand the presidential election to Chávez on a silver platter ten months before voting even takes place as the opposition vote splits down the middle.
The implications of not holding the primaries goes even deeper than ruining any ray of hope the opposition had of getting back into power and getting their hands on the oil revenues. The primaries are also to select unitary candidates for mayoralties and state governorships. Now if all this comes down being decided by consensus, who is “playing at being democratic”? It will all become a question of money and trafficking influences as it always was in the IV Republic from 1958 – 1998 when the country was run by the US aligned bourgeoisie.
To conclude – the Venezuelan opposition is almost running Chávez’s campaigning for him. No ideas. No plans. No originality. Just the same tired bitching and criticism about anything and everything the government or the President does or says. Even the opposition flagship TV channel. Globovision is now trailing well behind the main state channel is terms of viewer ratings so it is clear that even anti-chavistas are fed up and bored with the opposition antics and tactics.
Finally, no-one has asked how the opposition candidates for the primaries were selected in the first place. Not one was selected by a vote from the party grass roots – except for maybe Leopoldo López of Voluntad Popular who won the presidency of his party in a national vote, organized by the CNE. It was a real pity that only 150,000 people voted.
It was a question of money. To participate in the opposition primaries each candidate had to put up Bs.F.1, 000,000 (US$232,558). This exemplifies the capitalist nature of their mentality which has certainly lost favor in Venezuela since Chavez declared himself a socialist in late 2006.
When it is all about NED and USAID dollars and the only policy you have is to criticize Chavez and his Ministers, offering no viable alternative except a return to Venezuela’s nefarious social past, then you have little hope of winning anything – not even the primaries which look odds on to be cancelled.
Arturo Rosales is a seasoned journalist who has worked in several Latin American countries. Since 1999 he has been writing on a voluntary basis to disseminate the truth about environmental and energy issues which are often obfuscated in the corporate media. With the advent of the Bolivarian revolution he turned his hand to more politically angled writing, especially when analyzing the effects and strategy of the Global Corporate Empire on the third world and Latin America in particular. Currently, Arturo is a staff writer for Axis of Logic.
This article first published at Axis of Logic.
According to Obama's "signing statement", the threat of Al Qaeda to the Security of the Homeland constitutes a justification for repealing fundamental rights and freedoms, with a stroke of the pen.
The controversial signing statement (see transcript below) is a smokscreen. Obama says he disagrees with the NDAA but he signs it into law.
"[I have] serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists."
Obama implements "Police State USA", while acknowledging that certain provisions of the NDAA are unacceptable. If such is the case, he could have either vetoed the NDAA (H.R. 1540) or sent it back to Congress with his objections.
The “National Defense Authorization Act " (H.R. 1540) is Obama's New Year's "Gift" to the American People.
He justifies the signing of the NDAA as a means to combating terrorism, as part of a counter-terrorism agenda. But in substance, any American opposed to the policies of the US government can --under the provisions of the NDAA-- be labelled a "suspected terrorist" and arrested under military detention.
"Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law."
Barack Obama is a lawyer (a graduate from Harvard Law School). He knows fair well that his signing statement --which parrots his commitment to democracy-- is purely cosmetic. It has no force of law.
The signing statement does not in any way invalidate or modify the actual signing by President Obama of NDAA (H.R. 1540) into law.
"Democratic Dictatorship" in America
The “National Defense Authorization Act " (H.R. 1540) repeals the US Constitution. While the facade of democracy prevails, supported by media propaganda, the American republic is fractured. The tendency is towards the establishment of a totalitarian State, a military government dressed in civilian clothes.
The passage of NDAA is intimately related to Washington's global military agenda. The military pursuit of Worldwide hegemony also requires the "Militarization of the Homeland", namely the demise of the American Republic.
In substance, the signing statement is intended to mislead Americans and provide a "democratic face" to the President as well as to the unfolding post-911 Military Police State apparatus.
The "most important traditions and values" in derogation of the US Constitution have indeed been repealed, effective on New Year's Day, January 1st 2012.
The NDAA authorises the arbitrary and indefinite military detention of American citizens.
The Lessons of History
This New Year's Eve December 31, 2011 signing of the NDAA will indelibly go down as a landmark in American history.
If we are to put this in a comparative historical context, the relevant provisions of the NDAA HR 1540 are, in many regards, comparable to those contained in the "Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State", commonly known as the "Reichstag Fire Decree" (Reichstagsbrandverordnung) enacted in Germany under the Weimar Republic on 27 February 1933 by President (Field Marshal) Paul von Hindenburg.
Implemented in the immediate wake of the Reichstag Fire (which served as a pretext), this February 1933 decree was used to repeal civil liberties including the right of Habeas Corpus.
Article 1 of the February 1933 "Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State" suspended civil liberties under the pretext of "protecting" democracy:
"Thus, restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press, on the right of association and assembly, and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic, and telephonic communications, and warrants for house-searches, orders for confiscations, as well as restrictions on property rights are permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed." (Art. 1, emphasis added)
Constitutional democracy was nullified in Germany through the signing of a presidential decree.
The Reichstag Fire decree was followed in March 1933 by "The Enabling Act" ( Ermächtigungsgesetz) which allowed (or enabled) the Nazi government of Chancellor Adolf Hitler to invoke de facto dictatorial powers. These two decrees enabled the Nazi regime to introduce legislation which was in overt contradiction with the 1919 Weimar Constitution.
The following year, upon the death of president Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler "declared the office of President vacant" and took over as Fuerer, the combined function's of Chancellor and Head of State.
Obama's New Year's Gift to the American People
To say that January 1st 2012 is "A Sad Day for America" is a gross understatement.
The signing of NDAA (HR 1540) into law is tantamount to the militarization of law enforcement, the repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act and the Inauguration in 2012 of Police State USA.
As in Weimar Germany, fundamental rights and freedoms are repealed under the pretext that democracy is threatened and must be protected.
The NDAA is "Obama's New Year's Gift" to the American People. ...
Today, January 1st, 2012, our thoughts are with the American people.
This Article first published at GlobalResearch.ca
BY CUNEYT YILMAZ | DECEMBER 30, 2011
U.S.-Turkish relations are experiencing a period of close cooperation. At the same time, Turkey's ties with its European allies are under pressure. The presence of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Europe is fast becoming a prism through which the Turks view their ties with Europe, especially in Germany, where the PKK has a significant infrastructure. The United States can encourage action against PKK networks in Germany and subsequently take credit for such action with the Turkish public, thus preventing further deterioration in ties between America's European allies and Turkey at a time of improving U.S.-Turkish relations.
Deterioration of Turkish-German Relations
The PKK issue has eroded rapport between the Turks and Germans. On October 31, 2011, two German attorneys filed a case against Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing Turkey of "state terrorism against the Kurdish people" and demanding that Erdogan be arrested on those charges. This action followed Erdogan's earlier assertion that "German foundations have extended financial assistance to the terrorist organization PKK."
Since the early summer, the PKK has killed more than 130 Turks across the country. With anger rising inside Turkey, the country has pointed a finger at Germany. As a result, PKK funding and propaganda networks in Europe are under scrutiny by Turkish public agencies, especially in Germany. On October 2, Erdogan asserted that "German foundations lend money to [Kurdish nationalist] Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)-controlled local governments within Turkey, which relay the money to the PKK."
PKK Organizational and Propaganda Networks in Germany
Although the German media has rejected allegations of lending support to PKK entities, Germany appears unwittingly to be the PKK's economic center. In 2007, the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) published a report outlining the ways in which the PKK uses Germany as a base to ensure its financial survival.
According to the BfV, the PKK in Germany is divided into three regions, or serits: North, Central, and South. These serits are subdivided into a total of twenty-seven areas. Moreover, several civic associations related to the PKK have been established in major German cities. These associations belong to the Federation of Kurdish Unions in Germany, aka Yekitiya Komalen Kurd Li Elmanya (YEK-KOM). Additionally, Germany is home to organization Yekitiya Xwendekaren Kurdistan (YXK). These groups are involved especially in organizing concerts and festivals, such as the annual ZILAN Women's Festival established in 2006, and the annual International Kurdish Culture Festival in Gelsenkirchen, which in 2007 boasted attendance of 40,000.
As outlined in BfV reports, the PKK's media presence is tremendously important for the ideological indoctrination of Kurds in Germany as well as for propaganda directed at non-Kurds. Such indoctrination is achieved through various media outlets, including the pro-PKK newspaper Yeni Ozgur Politika (New Free Politics), the PKK's publishing house, Mesopotamia, in Cologne, the Denmark-based network Roj TV, and Firat News Agency, stationed in the Netherlands.
PKK Funding in Germany
According to the European Union's Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) 2011, funding from Germany plays a highly important role in supporting PKK activities in Turkey. The report states: "The PKK collects money from its members under the rubric of 'donations and membership fees' in lieu of extortion and illegal taxation. In addition to organized extortion campaigns, there are indications that the PKK is actively involved in money laundering, illicit drugs and human trafficking, as well as illegal immigration inside and outside the EU."
These facts are well known by German authorities. German prosecutors and police have tried to inhibit PKK activities, most notably through crackdowns in recent years against the PKK network in Germany. On October 12, 2011, following Erdogan's latest accusations of German support to the PKK, the German police reacted immediately by arresting Ali Ihsan K, PKK's chief of North Germany, on charges that he was running the organization's extortion and illegal taxation operations inside Germany.
According to the official website of YEK-KOM, the PKK's civic arm, a number of German politicians, officials, and even members of the Protestant-Lutheran Church seem to be unknowingly supporting PKK-related activities. In February 2011, for instance, YEK-KOM organized a congress on the property of a Protestant-Lutheran church in Dortmund. Notable politicians attended, such as Guntram Schneider, minister of Labor, Integration, and Social Purposes for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia along with -- from the same state -- Dr. Stefan Romberg, a Free Democratic Party politician, and Bernhard von Gruneberg, a Social Democratic Party politician. Several labor union representatives attended as well. In addition, Ludger Vollmer, the former German minister of state at the Department of Foreign Affairs, has taken part in the annual International Kurdish Culture Festival organized by YEK-KOM in Gelsenkirchen.
Many Germans are aware that YEK-KOM is the civic arm of the PKK in their country, a fact attested to by YEK-KOM's official website. Additionally, the Ministry of Domestic Affairs of the German state of Lower Saxony affirms that YEK-KOM is a PKK-related organization. Yet such knowledge has done little to hinder support for the PKK among numerous German public figures.
What Can Be Done?
Washington has an interest in weakening the PKK's influence in Germany because it threatens ties between Turkey and Germany, two valuable U.S. allies. What is more, since the Turks view outside actions against the PKK as a sign of friendship, Berlin and Washington can improve their standing in Turkey by taking credit for such actions. This step would especially benefit the United States at a time when the White House is interested in seeing an improvement in popular Turkish support for the United States parallel to the closer relations between Washington and Ankara.
For their part, German security forces and officials are concerned about the PKK's activities in Germany, and Turkish officials have gained valuable insights on the party and its activities in Germany through close and formidable cooperation with their German counterparts. But on the political level, a lack of will on the German side and a lack of trust on the Turkish side have undermined cooperation. Erdogan's accusations targeting German foundations resulted from resentment against German domestic policy and attitudes toward the PKK, even though no explicit evidence proves that German foundations in Turkey directly support PKK activities.
Given this background, the following are recommendations for the three major players:
Berlin: Germany has already taken positive steps to win back Turkey's trust, and these efforts could be built upon. The German newspaper Tageszeitung reported that German chancellor Angela Merkel, in response to Erdogan's call for "support" in Turkey's "war against terrorism," declared that Germany "is on Turkey's side in its fight against terrorism."
Berlin can also take smart financial action to block pro-PKK media. In this regard, recent U.S.-supported action against the Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation (LJBC) can serve as an example. During the Libyan rebellion against the Qadhafi regime, Washington convinced its European allies to black out LJBC broadcasts in Europe. Ankara would be appreciative if PKK-linked broadcasting were similarly shut down.
Ankara: In the Kurdish opening of 2010, Turkey promised to grant cultural rights to the Kurds. Full implementation of this promise would do much to impress German opinion. An important element of such an effort would be inclusion in the new Turkish constitution now under debate of broader individual rights for the country's citizens, such as expanding freedom of expression, including the Kurds. A liberal charter including broadly defined freedoms would also facilitate Turkey's aspiration to become a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, especially as Turkey seeks to lead during the unfolding Arab Spring.
Washington: The United States should encourage Germany and Turkey to take collaborative action against PKK networks in Germany. A key component of such an endeavor would be close cooperation among U.S., Turkish, and German police and intelligence officials.
Cuneyt Yilmaz, a graduate of the University of Bayreuth in Germany, has been an intern for the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and various U.S. public policy institutions.
Daniel Drezner, a Fletcher School professor and Foreign Policy blogger, isn’t convinced. For one thing, he points out, the U.S. never really lost interest in maintaining a presence in East Asia. The big difference now is “the eagerness with which the countries in the region, ranging from Australia to Myanmar, have reciprocated.”
Second, regardless of what U.S. officials may say or want, the rest of the world will continue to demand their attention:
“A pivot implies that the United States will stop paying attention to Europe or the Middle East and start paying attention to East Asia. While I’m sure that’s what the Obama administration wants to do, it can’t. Europe is imploding, as are multiple countries in the Middle East. The United States can’t afford to ignore these regions, since uncertainty there eventually translates into both global and domestic problems.”
Drezner sums up: “Talking about a United States ‘pivot’ in foreign policy is meaningless.”
Well, yes and no. Of course, the U.S. never lost its economic or strategic interest in the region, and there is a goodly dose of salesmanship in the administration’s talk of a foreign-policy reorientation towards the Asia-Pacific. And, yes, with the Middle East undergoing revolutionary changes, Europe facing the prospect of cascading economic crises, and American soldiers still dying in Afghanistan, any administration will be at the mercy of “events, dear boy, events.”
But Drezner understates the significance of recent U.S. moves in the Asia-Pacific. The administration’s talk of a “pivot” was clearly intended as a signal to China’s neighbours that, in spite of U.S. domestic fiscal problems and drawdown from Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. is not about to go wobbly on its military and diplomatic commitments in East Asia. The speech that President Barack Obama delivered in Australia last week challenged Chinese policies right across the board, from China’s currency-management practices to its regional military aspirations. Indeed, it read like a politely veiled containment policy towards China.
Perhaps that’s putting it too strongly, because the United States is interested in both containing and engaging China. Nevertheless, these speeches – combined with related U.S. actions – have communicated renewed American resolve in the region. In addition to the symbolically important deployment of U.S. Marines to Australia’s northern coast, Singapore may soon provide basing for the U.S. Navy’s new littoral combat ships, Vietnam has invited the American warships to call on its Cam Ranh Bay port for the first time in three decades, and we may soon hear more announcements of U.S. ships and planes being allowed to operate out of local bases across the region. (In case anyone didn’t get the message, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose the deck of a guided missile cruiser as the venue to deliver a speech reaffirming the U.S. alliance with the Philippines “and all of our alliances in the region.”)
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy has recently tested a new unmanned warplane designed to be flown from aircraft carriers, reportedly with three times the range of carrier-based manned aircraft. These drones would not only greatly extend the reach of U.S. air power in the region, but would also allow the carriers to operate outside the maximum range of Chinese anti-ship missiles.
Consider the sum total of these words and deeds. They may not add up to a “pivot” – at least, not if Drezner is correct and the metaphor implies that the U.S. will “stop” paying attention to Europe and the Middle East and “start” paying attention to East Asia. However, I doubt that the Obama administration has been formulating its policy in such stark, zero-sum terms. The message of the administration’s recent speeches and actions, rather, was that the U.S. will be increasing, not decreasing, its involvement in the affairs of the Asia-Pacific. That’s is an important and credible message to communicate at a moment when America is disengaging from Iraq and Afghanistan, when China’s rising military assertiveness has been fuelling regional fears, and when there’s so much at stake in the Asia-Pacific for the future of U.S. military and economic power.
First Published at CIPS.
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 08:12
Just as expected, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) obtained a landslide victory in the 23 October presidential elections and secured a second term in office. CFK not only won nearly 54 percent of the vote, she also defeated her nearest contender, socialist governor of Santa Fe Hermes Binner, by about 37 percentage points. Furthermore, the Frente para la Victoria – the kirchnerist wing of peronism – was able to regain the absolute legislative majority in the Lower House that it had lost as a result of both the conflict with farmers in 2008 and the defeat at the mid-term legislatives of 2009. In addition, several kirchnerist candidates were able to obtain victories at both the provincial and local level thanks to CFK’s coattails.
The outcome of last Sunday’s elections was expected after CFK’s strong performance in the 14 August primaries. Until the primaries, the most prominent opposition candidates, former President Eduardo Duhalde of dissident peronism, and Ricardo Alfonsin from the Radical Party had hopes of forcing a run-off. They assumed that CFK would not surpass 45 percent of the vote – the threshold that forecloses a second round according to Argentina’s Constitution – and that the best situated opposition candidate would get at least 20 percent support, which would lead to a polarized and more competitive scenario in the general election. But both assumptions proved wrong, resulting in a climate of triumphalism and euphoria for government supporters and simultaneously driving the opposition into despair and dismay. Of the opposition candidates, only Hermes Binner, the socialist governor of Santa Fe who had entered the presidential race at the last minute, managed to secure 10 percent in the primaries. Binner was the only candidate able to survive the demoralizing climate prevailing at the Alfonsin and Duhalde campaigns. Aware that his center-left coalition, the Frente Amplio Progresista, is a medium term political project, Binner felt comfortable with increasing his support for the 23 October elections and ending up in – a distant – second place.
To a large extent, Argentina’s primaries – which are compulsory and field candidates from all parties against each other – became the de facto first round rather than a candidates’ selection process. Their outcome removed any remnant of electoral uncertainty in Argentina’s presidential race.
There are various reasons for both CFK’s impressive victory and the opposition’s poor performance. In the first place it is evident that the unexpected death of CFK’s husband, former president Nestor Kirchner’s, caused a dramatic shift in public opinion that clearly benefited the her administration. Although the approval ratings of both CFK and Nestor Kirchner were on the rise before the latter’s death, his passing away instantly created a 20 percent bounce in the approval ratings of his widow. While Nestor Kirchner’s death is not a full explanation for CFK’s triumph, he did take with him to the grave the strong anti-kirchnerist sentiments developed in public opinion after the 2008 conflict over grains’ export taxes.
Secondly, the solid economic recovery after the 2009 downturn certainly enhanced the government’s chances. The strong growth in both 2010 and 2011 not only boosted private consumption but also endowed the government with a large pool of fiscal resources. A double digit inflation running at 22-25 percent according to private estimates was not an obstacle for the government since voters placed a higher premium on employment and growth. The fact that annual wage negotiations compensate the loss of purchasing power generated by inflation, together with the update of pensions and social policy allowances, reduced the political costs associated with inflation.
Thirdly, the increasing fragmentation of the opposition since the mid-term legislatives, in which the government lost its majority in the Lower House, also helps explain CFK’s landslide, both in the primaries and the general elections. Until the 14 August primaries many opposition leaders – Buenos Aires city mayor Mauricio Macri being a clear exception – still believed that the strong anti-kirchnerist sentiment prevailing in 2008 and 2009 was dominant in public opinion and that the October elections would be for the strongest opposition candidate to lose. While these assumptions were true when the mid-term elections took place, they were clearly flawed after the change in the political scenario brought about by Nestor Kirchner’s death. This perception, together with the low level of institutionalization of Argentina’s opposition parties, was a main reason for the fragmentation of the opposition camp. The two main opposition alliances, the center-left Acuerdo Cívico y Social (ACyS) and the coalition of PRO and dissident peronism, which had provided clear alternatives in Argentina’s weak party system, and had been instrumental in the defeat of kirchnerism in mid-term legislative election, broke down in 2011. Against the backdrop of a good economic situation and concerned by the risks of a change of administration, it is hardly surprising that voters turned their back on a highly fragmented opposition that could not provide anything but a leap of faith.
The question now is what can be expected from the new CFK administration. CFK will begin her new term in office as the most powerful head of state since the 1983 democratic transition, but she faces considerable challenges. First, since she cannot be elected to another term, managing the peronist struggle for her succession, and not becoming too early a lame duck, undoubtedly will be major challenges. Second, CFK will take office amidst a more difficult international economic environment. A slowdown in Brazil’s or China’s economy could have a significant impact on Argentina. Thirdly, the economic model set in place by Nestor and Cristina Kirchner is entering a stage of rising trade-offs and decreasing returns. In particular, the exhaustion of the current account surplus – which has enabled the accumulation of Central Bank reserves and created substantial autonomy from international capital markets and International Financial Institutions – reduces the degrees of freedom of the future CFK administration. The political capital accumulated in the election should allow CFK to adopt painful yet long pending decisions – lifting the ten year freeze in tariffs, crafting a consistent anti-inflationary approach, and moderating the expansionary bias of fiscal and monetary policy. Yet, the fact that the Kirchnerist model received a strong endorsement at the ballot box, together with the highly positive economic returns from the current economic policies, provide little stimulus for change.
Ignacio Labaqui is a Professor of Political Science at Universidad Catolica, Argentina.
First Published at LSEIdeas.
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