December 11, 2013
Views and opinions from yesterday’s newspapers
Clarín’s Eduardo van der Kooy on Boudou’s strings:
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s surgery left her out the political arena for a while. Her absence forced the return of Vice-President Amado Boudou to the spotlight, reviving the palace intrigues. The government received polls indicating that the president’s condition was widely acknowledged by society but that potential votes for her candidates remained in the same level as it was in the August primaries.
Meanwhile, Boudou is the acting president but that position seems to be only a formality. He lacks leadership skills and is too shallow for the “popular” tale created by the government. While doctors where getting ready to cut Fernández de Kirchner’s head open, the VP was giving a press conference, completely unaware of it. He even stated that the Kirchners “cared more about the country than they did for their own lives.” Máximo Kirchner and Carlos Zannini, the president’s legal and technical secretary, were furious. From that moment on, the government’s initial support for the vice-president turned into a badly disguised limitation of his powers. Three official rallies in which he was scheduled to make appearances were suspended in just two days.
One of those was cancelled at Martín Insaurralde’s request. It seems that a legislative candidate has more power than the nation’s vice-president.
Página/12’s Mario Wainfeld on the model’s strength:
The Senate approved the 2014 Budget, plus the emergency and tax cheque laws, 40 to 27. It marked a great victory for the government because it will allow it to rule for the next two years. The analysis of the votes harnessed by the Victory Front and its allies shows that the government has a “safety net” of a couple of senators that enables it to secure majorities until the presidential term is over.
Even if the ruling party were to lose the upcoming election, it would still have a leading position in Congress. The Victory Front (FpV) does not have majority on its own but is more than capable of getting it with long-standing and occasional allies. The Senate is composed by 72 senators, three for each province and Buenos Aires City. The government only needs 37 to pass laws easily, with 36 it suffers a little.
These numbers highlight the importance of every single vote in October’s election. The fierce competition between Senator Daniel Filmus and lawmaker Fernando Solanas for the minority seat in Buenos Aires City may play a main role in the governability over the next four years.
The budget approved by the Senate has the traditional Kirchnerite signature. Also, the cheques law may bring seven billion pesos to the national treasury, according to official estimates. That tax is only a short-term solution for deeper problems that should be solved, but for the time being represents a great relief for the government.
La Nación’s Joaquín Morales Solá on an autocracy:
Concerns could interrupt Fernández de Kirchner’s rest. Amado Boudou has already become a political problem due to his notorious unpopularity, according to the latest Poliarquía survey. The Cabinet is another headache for the president. Her absence unleashed countless inner strugglesamong her officials.
Another discouraging fact for her is that a vast majority of society believes her condition is not serious. Everything seems to indicate that the government won’t be able to get any political gains from her health troubles.
The government tried to install Carlos Zannini, the legal and technical secretary, as the actual power holder in the president’s absence. But Zannini never cared about making friends, and now is alone.
Juan Manuel Abal Medina, Oscar Parrilli, and Florencio Randazzo are the president’s inner circle of advisers and they have no communication with Zannini. Planning Minister Julio De Vido is his sworn enemy.
All of the president’s officials are not just against Zannini, it is a free-for-all chaos in which alliances are made and broken daily. The president is the only one who can bring some order to the government, and she will have to resume her work sooner than the doctors advised. Anyway, she won’t come back before October 27 because she doesn’t want to be anywhere near the looming defeat.