It is anyone’s game on Argentina’s Election Day. In the first round of voting, pollsters predicted a win for Daniel Scioli from the ruling Frente para la Victoria (FPV) party. To the surprise of many, the results came in at a tight three percentage point difference. Days before the run-off elections, Mauricio Macri from the Cambiemos Coalition has emerged as the front-runner of the race with an 8 percent lead over President Fernandez de Kirchner’s chosen successor.
The winner on November 22 will have to face the daunting tasks of revitalizing the country’s economy and working around the politically polarized environment. The new leadership changes in Argentina will also have a profound ripple effect through the entire region.
On Tuesday, November 17, the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center of the Atlantic Council held a conference call with two renowned Argentinian political and economic analysts: Juan Germano, Founding Partner of Buenos Aires-based Isonomia Consultants, and Juan Pablo Ronderos, Business Development Manager for ABECEB.
In a conversation moderated by the Center’s Director, Peter Schechter, the participants shared their vision on various post-election results. Juan Germano commented on the shrinking possibility of continuing with the ongoing trends: “All polls show the difference between candidates is getting wider, with a difference between 13-16 points.” Germano also discussed the challenges for the next president when facing the Argentinian Congress; particularly the Senate, which will remain in control by Kirchnerism.
Taking what he called a “hyper-presidential system” in Argentina into consideration, a victory by Macri would entail the arduous duty of harmonizing with the Peronist politicians. “It will be very difficult for Macri to have a majority for any contested issue,” stated Germano. Moreover, Macri would have to work on strengthening the relationship with the unions, and particularly within his own party’s coalition. “We are not a country [in which] coalition governments have worked in the past; this is a new era that could start now,” Germano added.
As an expert in macro analysis and risk-management, Juan Pablo Ronderos of ABECEB, shed light on the economic burdens lurking up for the next president. Argentina’s new leadership may impact the country’s weakened institutions, struggling economy, and its tumultuous relationship with foreign investors. Ronderos was clear in the need for new internal programs that will tackle fiscal deficit.
The 2016 changes in Argentinian politics could be the start of a prosperous future; albeit with a difficult transition period. There are many clear divisions between the two candidates, from economic to foreign policies. During the presidential debate, Macri expressed interest in higher economic partnerships within the region, while also voicing a strong opposition against the Venezuelan government.
When Argentinians go to the polls on Sunday, they are deciding on a new direction for the country and much is at stake. As Juan Germano stated: “a change is happening in Argentina; society is waiting with high expectations to see what would happen with a new government”. A victory by Scioli or Macri would just be the beginning of a long-term battle to determine the path the country will take.
Missed the conversation? Click below to listen to a recording of the conference call.