March 9, 2014
There is no 2015 without 2014
Almost all opposition politicians these days subscribe to two potentially contradictory propositions without heeding the responsibilities this contradiction places on them — that there has been a power vacuum at least since the October of presidential health problems and midterm electoral defeat (if not beforehand) and that after 30 consecutive years of democracy President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner must serve out her full term. Either these politicians are not being honest or they have not thought through these two notions as logically incompatible — if this is really an eroded government which has run out of ideas, then an alternative programme is urgently needed from the opposition to see Argentina through the seemingly endless 21-month transition period to the next elections. But hardly any opposition politician seems to realize that there is no 2015 without 2014. There is lively interest in 2015 electoral alliances and candidacies (including widespread talk about changing the PASO primary rules to make the definition of presidential slates more flexible) while the more responsible seem to have learned that platforms could be at least as important as candidates — fortunately, it must be said in fairness, the lessons from the failures of the 1999-2001 Alliance and the 2009-11 opposition-dominated Congress have been absorbed by most. Yet in the here and now, they criticize the government for having zero confidence, credibility or policy innovations without producing any constructive alternatives to fill the gap.
Virtually everybody agrees that the economy is the biggest problem area but where are the solutions? Among the various groupings of a fragmented opposition, at least two have solid economic teams laden with ex-ministers and former Central Bank governors — those drawn by the rising star Sergio Massa and his Renewal Front (Roberto Lavagna, Martín Redrado and Miguel Peirano among various others) and those within the general UNEN/Radical/Socialist cluster (Alfonso Prat Gay, Martín Lousteau, Javier González Fraga, etc.). Yet what are the chances of these two teams putting their heads together to produce a plan for 2014 instead of concentrating on their proposals for the 2015 elections? Or even offering policy alternatives separately?
Of course, the opposition could always argue that if they did offer constructive alternatives, the CFK administration would only ignore them but in that case they would be beyond reproach in fulfilling their civic duty while leaving the ball in the government’s court.