Despite recent economic and financial hardships, Argentina, an economic, political and cultural powerhouse, remains one of the most influential players in South America. Political instability, economic volatility and poor demographic growth have in fact held back the development of the country, not only in relation to Brazil, the great northern neighbor, which has always been the main competitor, but also towards states such as Chile and Colombia, more similar in geographical and demographic dimensions and protagonists in recent times of a solid and stable development path. The fact remains that according to the most important development indicators, whether it is per capita income or education, health conditions or infant mortality, the country is among the most advanced in the entire Latin American continent.
Although weakened by the new economic and financial crisis, Argentina remains a regional power capable of making its influence weigh in Latin American forums and even more in the lives of its neighbors: both weaker ones, such as Bolivia and Paraguay, and, albeit to a much lesser extent, than the stronger ones, such as Chile and Uruguay. The country also remains formally interested in promoting regional integration processes by supporting certain organizations, such as the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), always with a view to limiting Brazilian protagonism. The political and ideological closeness with Venezuela and the countries of Alba can also be explained in this sense. Overall, Argentina maintains good relations with its neighbors Chile and Uruguay, while relations with Colombia and Peru, closer to the US, remain fluctuating. On the other hand, relations with the United States are changing, despite the rapprochement of recent years. To decree the new tear, the Argentine accusations against Washington of having pushed its creditors not to accept the debt restructuring plan of the ‘Tango bonds’ as instead has already done 93% of the other insolvent.
Finally, on the international level, the foreign policy agenda of the Argentine governments was characterized by a decisive opening to the new Asian emerging markets and the search for international partners capable of giving voice to the broadest and most transversal strategic alliances possible. In this sense, the approaches to Russia and China – the latter already a trading partner of great importance – and a lesser attention to Europe, perceived as increasingly distant and therefore less functional to Argentine interests, are explained. Finally, relations between Argentina and the United Kingdom remain complicated due to the well-known issue of the Falkland Islands / Malvinas.
The recent change at the top, with the victory of the liberal Mauricio Macri in the ballot of the presidential elections on 21 November 2015, has decreed the end of Kirchnerism after 12 years of uninterrupted power. The new executive should mark a clear line of discontinuity with previous policies, especially in the economic and international relations fields.
Institutional organization and internal politics
Argentina is a presidential federal republic. The head of state is elected every four years by universal suffrage and cannot govern for more than two consecutive terms. The liberal Constitution of 1853, although amended on several occasions, still represents the institutional backbone of the country, founded on a bicameral representative system, on the separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers, and on jurisdiction, exercised in the 23 provinces and in the district. federal government of the capital by the governors and elected legislative assemblies.
In 1930, after half a century of relative political stability, Argentina entered a long phase of instability and alternation between Peronist populism and military authoritarianism. There were a series of coups d’etat, the last of which, in 1976, resulted in the most repressive regime in national history. In 1983, when, surprisingly, the leader of the radical party Raúl Alfonsín was elected president, Argentina returned to democracy. Since then, the democratic system has resisted serious political and economic crises: military insubordination in the 1980s, hyperinflation in 1989 and the dramatic financial crisis of 2001, following which the country plunged into chaos, causing the collapse of the unprecedented government coalition between radicals and democratic socialists. For Argentina political system, please check diseaseslearning.com.
The recent political history of Argentina has been indelibly characterized by Kirchnerism, a more recent version of oficialismo of Peronist matrix. The government of Argentina was ruled from 2003 to 2015 by the Frente Para la Victoria, faction of the Partido Justicialista, so named in 1971 and the main depositary of the Peronist tradition, first with the executive of Néstor Kirchner, and then, since 2007, with that of his wife Cristina Fernández, former senator and party leader, who confirmed her leadership of the country again in October 2011 with 54% of the votes. Kirchner governments have garnered both praise and criticism. The awards are mostly linked to the reopening of trials against the military and influential figures of the institutions, the Catholic Church and society who had committed, even indirectly, serious violations of human rights during the last dictatorship. Another acknowledged merit was that of having been able to guarantee a certain economic recovery to the country and a substantial reduction in poverty and inequality, although in recent years the difficulties have multiplied. The disputes, on the other hand, refer to some typical traits of the Peronist political culture, intolerant of pluralism and the limits imposed by institutional procedures that the government often tends to distort and override, compressing the freedom of the opposition.
In November 2012, the Argentine parliament succeeded in approving a measure that lowered the minimum voting age from 18 to 16. The reform, strongly supported by Kirchner, would have allowed over a million young people to go to the polls for the first time. According to the president’s detractors, this electoral operation was aimed at co-opting the youth vote in view of the mid-term parliamentary elections of 27 October 2013. Nonetheless, the results of the elections confirmed the negative trend embarked on in recent months by the government party. The winners of this round were Sergio Massa, former Kirchnerista of the Frente Renovador, and Mauricio Macri, mayor of Buenos Aires and leader of Propuesta Repubblicana, a center-right group.
In an attempt to regain consensus after the defeat of the parliamentarians, in November 2013 the president proceeded to reshuffle the government and the top management of national financial institutions, without however achieving any positive results. In fact, a few months later, in July 2014, the country found itself experiencing a new political and financial crisis, similar to that of 2001, this time dictated by the inability of the state to pay the debts contracted with national and foreign investors., public and private.
In view of the presidential elections of October / November 2015, Cristina Kirchner, no longer having the necessary seats in the Senate to reform the Constitution and thus run for a third term, had to leave her post as oficialist candidate to Daniel Scioli, former governor of the province of Buenos Aires. The latter, however, was defeated in the ballot by Mauricio Macri, as part of an electoral round with an unexpected result until a few days before the vote. Macri was also able to count on part of the votes of the candidate who came third in the first round, the dissident Peronist Sergio Massa.