Political crisis in Argentina: the ministers who respond to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner present their resignation

Argentina Political Crisis

The blood has reached the river in Argentina. Five ministers and two senior officials who report to the vice president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, presented their resignation to President Alberto Fernández on Wednesday. The play exposes the tensions within the Peronist coalition after Sunday’s electoral defeat. The Kirchnerist ministers’ offer to leave puts the president and the rest of the Cabinet members who respond to him under fire. Fernández is now obliged to reject their resignation and give in to the pressure of Kirchnerism; or you can let them go and put together a new Cabinet without the main political force of your government. The fracture, until now buried, has become evident.

Political crisis in Argentina?

The electoral debacle of the Frente de Todos in Sunday’s primary elections was epic. The Peronist candidates to contest a seat in Congress on November 14 lost in 18 of the 24 districts of the country, including the province of Buenos Aires, a stronghold of Kirchnerism. Fernández said he had “made mistakes” and promised to correct them. Kirchnerism then began a game of pressure to remove the Chief of Ministers, Santiago Cafiero, and the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, from their positions, to whom they blame the economic problems that ended up frightening the vote towards the opposition. Fernández did not give in to pressure and supported his men in various public events. Kirchnerism did not wait much longer and decided to kick the board.

Argentina in a political crisis

The Interior Minister, Eduardo ‘Wado’ de Pedro, the eyes of Cristina Kirchner in the cabinet, presented his resignation to Fernández with a very brief letter. “Listening to his words on Sunday night where he raised the need to interpret the verdict expressed by the Argentine people, I have considered that the best way to collaborate with that task is by putting my resignation at his disposal,” he wrote. Minutes later he was followed by the ministers of Justice, Martín Soria; of Territorial Development, Jorge Ferraresi; of Science, Roberto Salvarezza; of the Environment, Juan Cabandie; and Culture, Tristán Bauer. The directors of the retiree health service (PAMI), Luana Volnovich, and of social security (ANSES), Fernanda Raverta, also joined. PAMI and ANSES are two key government offices:

The president must now decide whether to accept the departure of the Kirchnerist ministers, thus weakening his position within a coalition that also includes the sectors that respond to Sergio Massa, president of the Chamber of Deputies. Hours before the resignations, Fernández had shared an official act with the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán. Guzmán is today an official under fire. Kirchnerism considers that it did not know how to manage the crisis inherited from Macrismo and they blame it for, in the name of fiscal balance, putting a brake on social aid plans. A quick read of Sunday’s electoral defeat says that voters who voted for the Frente de Todos in 2019 supported Juntos por el Cambio, the coalition of former President Mauricio Macri, this time because they did not feel accompanied by the government during the pandemic.

The economic crisis is palpable in the street. Inflation is around 50% a year and unemployment has grown. The closure of businesses and industries during the pandemic changed the social mood. The Government tried to reverse the situation with aid to wages and companies during 2020, but the lack of external credit and the need to close an agreement with the IMF led Guzmán to limit social plans during 2021. It remains now to know what Fernández will do in the face of the move of Kirchnerism. Cristina Fernández has moved her tab and has exhibited her power as the ultimate support of governance. Argentina now adds another policy to its economic crisis.