The return of Peronist politics in Argentina

FT News


Argentina's, Cristina Fernandez decay. Now is back at the full populace president left office in two thousand fifteen with the country on the brink of economic collapse. But if posed to be believed she has a good chance of returning to this in October, as vice president alongside her namesake and former chief of staff, Alburto Fernandez Jonathan Wheatley discusses, how history may be repeating itself in Argentina with a correspondent Benedict. Mander. Living with the. Going seattle. Get new put them meet there in, then they're gay three hundred fourteen dollars. We realize as individualize see noise when a p really says dune associated that was Cristina Fernandez decay, Schnur extolling the virtues of collective action. And so there can be no individual triumphs. In a society based on the kind of social contract that she advocates, but her parents policies left the country in dire state. Then it can you give us a picture of the economic situation, when she left office? Yes, when macrey took our. He find an economy with twin deficits, both in the budget and candidates, central Bank reserves running on Mt. And so you basically had a country that was under budgeted balance of payments crisis at the same time you had very high inflation. They no one knows exactly how high is they still publishing reliable statistics. There was no growth speak of high poverty. In the order thirty percents. I mean it was in a bad way, and it's proved very difficult for macrey to correct that situation. I what he's done. I was one of the big things he's done is turns the IMF and Argentina's being the beneficiary of its biggest ever bailout fifty six billion dollar package, but the IMF is still deeply unpopular in Argentina. Was that? Yes, I mean, it's like a comic book villain Argentina. I mean, it's had a very checkered performance in Argentina over the past sixty years. There have been more than twenty programs pretty much all of which have ended badly. Most recently, the two thousand one crisis was probably the west all that ended in the biggest ever sovereign debt default at a time. Anyway, huge devaluation that triggered very high employment. Those sibling arrest people shot on the streets, and so on having was disastrous. So it's understandable that people have bad memories if the funds engagement in the country. I Fono money Taddeo. This realm integral Montreal remove scenario Torello necessarily casino much of Argentine was brought to a standstill last week by general strike in protest over the government. So stereotype measures are we just had one of the organizers, Kellyanne Rupak Anini describing the IMF is being the Bermuda triangle, sucking in salaries work, health and education? So things apparently haven't improved for the poor under the reforms agreed between the current president Mauricio Macri in the IMF. What are people telling you about the hardships? They're facing at the moment. The first thing that people say that they just are able to make it to the end of the bone, and that's those that are employed, right? Because there's a huge amount of releasing Jones, but those that are earning salaries which not keeping up with inflation, finding it very difficult to pay for just the basic items food, prices have been up extremely fast and utilities as well have been rising several times over. So people just. Yeah. The month and that is obviously, causing significant social unrest. And you'd be not speaking to small businesses on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. How are they putting up with things the slums and the working class area's been particularly badly hit where there are lots of factories and workshops which not very competitive and been competing with impulse China. The defended the local markets, a lot of have been closing down. So that's leading to mass unemployment in the poorer areas of the city, which is causing big problems on against those are large part of the electorate, exactly. That's the heartland of Christina Fernandes occasion. And she is likely to do very well in that part of the electric ended makes up about a quarter voted. So it'll make significant difference. Deana. See my settlement brother shit. I mean goon Dino. And. Taylor. That was Christina Fernandez running mate, berto Fernandez. No, relation saying it rally that his coalition would eliminate Argentina's debt without making any Argentine suffer the cost with promises like this, how, as Mr. macrey can fight fightback. Well, it's not easy. The big thing that maybe hadn't his favorite, the beginning was that he was supposedly better, managing the economy, now that is not really proved to be the case or at least not over these four years. A lot of people, and I find themselves in a worse position night and they were four years ago. So he's having to look the other areas to sell himself, so recently, they've been inaugurating public works, major infrastructure projects, roads bridges sewerage signs, rather present, but these things do make a big difference to another people. And that, having that will help and also you have to remember that there are no infrastructure projects under the previous government that they're started. We wouldn't have. Completed. So this is also a reminder of the corruption that supposedly happened under the kitchen as you mentioned corruption that Benedict. What about all the court cases that are going on what bearing will that have on the election? Well, that is the million dollar question Argentines have known to vote into power politicians that have been accused of corruption in the past. So it's not gonna be the Bill and endle-. It will certainly have an impact on the margins. I think that polls show that the NFL this is a supporters. Don't actually believe the corruption charges identing that's going to affect that sector of the vote, but in the middle ground, perhaps it will and the extent to which it does could even decide the election another problem that obviously Argentina faces is that foreign investors very quickly lose trust in the country, and we've seen the huge devaluation of the currency last year again, this year, one of the problems that we often hear about is that Argentines themselves. Don't trust the currency. How do you fix a problem like that? Well, this is one of the great dramas of Argentina, and it's not clear to anybody otherwise. They might have six up more ready. It'll take years, perhaps decades of macroeconomic stability for trust in the currency to return or even appear. So the first thing that needs to do is kill inflation, which has proved incredibly hard on democracy. He thought it was going to be very easy, but it's not higher than it was when he came to power looks like it's beginning to go on a dine with paws, but it's going to take a very long time to get rid together at any then I think we'll people say, they're encouraging Argenta on politics have been compared to a circular firing squad. Is there any sign that, that passing could be halted in that Mr. macrey could engage with more moderate parents elements to win a consensus for his reform programme? Well at the beginning of this government, he did manage to cooperate with the mall, mudder elements apparent ISM and was able to pass some important. Reforms, more recently, the last year or even two that has not been so successful, but doesn't no reason why if he does win he couldn't do that again. But the polarization of Argentine politics is a huge problem. It was something that macrey promised to fix and he hasn't. Debatable as to why. But this is going to be a problem going forward without a diet. And why has Christina finance chosen to run for the vice presidency rather than as president this time? Well, you need to. That I mean it's impossible to get inside the head, but some people suggest that it may be because she thought she couldn't actually win. But then again, it's not clear that the person who is running in place on both the mandates will win either. So it could also be that, perhaps, even if she did win. She thought that she might not be able to govern efficiently at least as she might have liked to how she did in previous governments, which were current terrorized by the FTA amongst others is the populist politics. And as we all know populism doesn't mix very well with all sturdy, and that is the situation that we're in at the moment. So she might have decided to pass the buck. Thank you very much. We will certainly be watching with great interest as we get closer to the election. That was Jonathan.

Coming up next