Political analyst and protagonist of Libertad y Progreso’s Breakfast Cycle, Rosendo Fraga, estimated that Cambiemos has a 60% chance of winning in the legislative elections this year. He believes Cristina has a 30% chance and Massa, a mere 10%. According to Fraga, the percentages may change after each party chooses its candidates. Cambiemos has two things in its favor: the federal government and the government of Buenos Aires. Therefore, there are significant figures within the party that can participate in the campaign and it can use government resources to fund it. Furthermore, Peronism is divided into three factions.
“Today I believe Cambiemos will definitively win, but in 3 months everything can change. For example, Cristina has a few things in favor that can boost her results. Unemployment in the inner city of Buenos Aires is at a record high according to the INDEC – it is said that in Argentina elections are won there – and the opposition to Kirchnerism is divided among Cambiemos, Massa and Randazzo” he highlighted.
- After this election, Cambiemos may get 100 congressmen and 20 senators, but it will not have a majority in Congress. Selecting the judges, passing laws, and so forth will require making deals with the opposition.
- The ambassadors of Japan, several EU countries, former US ambassador Noah Mamet, and several financial institutions announced they are waiting for the results of this election to make decisions regarding Argentina. Both investors and international players are placing a great deal of importance on this election because, historically, whoever wins the midterm election goes on to win the following presidential election 6 out of 7 times.
- Getting a majority but losing in Buenos Aires would not be a win for Macri’s government. Cristina tried to claim this as a victory in 2009 and 2013, but it didn’t catch on. Cambiemos has to win the Province of Buenos Aries to definitively win. Today, Cristina has around a 1/3 of the vote and Cambiemos has another 1/3. They are fighting over the undecided 1/3 of the vote, where each party expects to win over 6 or 7% more of the voters.
- Two things could be done about Cristina. One is taking her out of the political game altogether, and the other is using her for an ulterior political agenda. The government is trying to pull off the latter. However, they failed to consider that Cristina as a candidate would heighten the instability that affects Argentina in terms of investment and international ranking. This strategy is reasonable, but that being said, with a stronger economic recovery, Cristina may have had a weaker base. But it didn’t play out like that.
- If Cristina loses in October, the clouds will lift, and the government can negotiate an agenda for next year with Peronists. If Cristina wins, her campaign for 2019 will start the very same day and the current administration will be looking at a very difficult future.
- Cristina will not lose votes among 30% of core voters because of corrupt politics. But it may mean she won’t be able to gain the votes she needs to reach a 7% increase she needs.
- If the government wins the election, a second term for Macri is likely and his party will be able to reach an agreement with the Peronists. If Cristina wins, even by a point, it will probably signify a 4-year presidency and an agreement with the opposition will be difficult.
- Long-term planning in Argentina is challenging with Peronism working against us. It is important to work with at least a portion of the party, as María Eugenia Vidal has in Buenos Aires.
- Cristina campaigns with her traditionally effective strategy of seduction. She did it in 2007, joining forces with a moderate, Julio Cobos, to talk about institutions. She also used this strategy in 2017 when she teamed up with Amado Boudou, a politician with a rather conservative background. She becomes confrontational when she governs. She is not copying Duran Barba, she is using the same tactics she always has. She is still a Peronist who comes from a very pragmatic political culture. The lack of Peronist symbolism is evident.
Before finishing, Fraga reminded the audience that in 2015, Argentina paved the way by denouncing populism. This phenomenon was repeated in Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Chile. “It remains to be seen if this phenomenon will be consolidated or if populism will become strong again, as it would if Cristina has a good performance. This is the great unknown,” he concluded.