shaken by a political crisis after the rout in the primaries, the government is reshuffled

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez (left) and Communication and Press Secretary Juan Pablo Biondi after voting in the primary legislative elections in Buenos Aires on September 12, 2021. Mr. Biondi presented his resignation on September 17, 2021.

After several days of political crisis, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez (center left) finally announced a partial cabinet reshuffle on Friday, September 17, under pressure from his vice-president and former head of state ( 2007-2015), Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. This reorganization follows the electoral rout suffered by the Peronists during the primary elections of Sunday, September 12, a sort of life-size survey before the by-laws of November 14: the presidential party was overtaken by the center-right opposition in the majority of provinces. A setback that the ruling coalition did not seem to have anticipated and which sheds light on the cracks that cross it.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Argentina: setback for President Alberto Fernandez in the mid-term primaries

“We are going to correct what could have been done wrong”, a, in the wake of the results, promised the Argentine president, not suggesting a possible change of the ministerial team. A muddled sequence followed, in which the quarrels within the coalition were delivered to the public by media outings with unclear ends, opening a boulevard to all speculation. As of Wednesday, September 15, five ministers and senior officials tendered their resignations, taking note of the electoral defeat, a maneuver interpreted as a way for Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to reorient the course of the government.

Alberto Fernandez, a “squatter”

It was the Peronist leader who, ahead of the presidential election in October 2019, had launched an atypical formula by choosing herself the candidate Alberto Fernandez, deemed to be more consensual, while placing herself in the background, as number two of the presidential ticket, in order to convince voters annoyed by his divisive figure. Since their victory in the first round – in the midst of the economic crisis that began in 2018 under the mandate of Mauricio Macri (center-right, 2015-2019) – the most critical government editorialists have never tired of joking: Alberto Fernandez would be a “puppet” of the vice-president.

It is also the voicemail messages on WhatsApp – very popular with Argentines for virtual discussions – of a deputy loyal to Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner who, in the crude language of a private exchange, echoed the reproaches addressed by the Kirchnerist wing to the president. In these messages that have filtered through the press, Fernanda Vallejos accuses Alberto Fernandez of being a “Squatter” of the presidential palace “Which is useless” and owes her power above all to her running mate. The MP also overwhelms the economic and health management of the government. If the curve of new SARS-CoV-2 infections is currently largely controlled, Argentina is one of the ten countries with the highest death rate in the world.

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