The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 06 November 2013

by TRG Alerts Admin on November 6, 2013

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(06NOV13)

 

Each week The Rendon Group Alert Team will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent.  The Snapshot Report is intended to provide a summary of events on a given issue over the past week as well as a sample of experts who cover that issue.  The Rendon Group does not endorse the positions on issues that the listed experts hold nor does The Rendon Group hold a position on any of the topics chosen for the Snapshot Reports.  As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request.  For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

Recent Argentinian Midterm Elections

On 27OCT, Argentina held midterm elections which were widely hailed as an indication of the political future of the country. While President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s party, the Front for Victory, maintained control of both of the country’s houses of Congress, the opposition Renewal Front made significant gains in important constituencies, among them Buenos Aires where 37% of voters live. This electoral snub comes on the heels of rising discontent among Argentinians as inflation remains high, corruption stubbornly widespread, and crime rates rise. (WSJ)

 

News Summary of events relating to Argentinian elections during the week of 28OCT-04NOV

  • On 27OCT, Argentina held midterm elections in which President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s party lost a number of seats but retained control of both houses of Congress. (BBC)
  • On 29OCT, Argentina’s Supreme Court upheld a controversial media law that aimed to reduce the concentration of the media market into the hands of a few large companies which some have claimed was directly aimed at Grupo Clarin, the country’s largest media conglomerate. (Reuters)
  • On 04NOV, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision on 29OCT, Grupo Clarin announced that it would split itself into six separate companies in compliance with the law. (AP)

 

Sample of Twitter handles regarding the elections in Argentina:

@nachoalbano: Buenos Aires- based business intelligence consultant

@Ed_Stocker: Multimedia journalist specializing in Argentina

@BBC_DelosReyes: BBC Argentina correspondent

@WyreDavies: BBC correspondent based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the elections in Argentina:

 

Julia Pomares, Political Analyst, CIPPEC

“It would be really hard to have Kirchnerism without a Kirchner as president.” – Argentina: End of the Kirchner Era? BBC, 29OCT13

 

Abraham Gak, Professor of Economics, University of Buenos Aires

“The opposition’s answer to [Argentina’s] problems is reducing public spending, lowering subsidies … in other words, policies that go in favour of lower salaries and against quality of life…I don’t think we’ll witness very profound changes in the government after the elections [on Sunday], because we are not facing as a critical situation as some say.” – Argentina: End of the Kirchner Era? BBC, 29OCT13

 

Casey Reckman, Analyst, Credit-Suisse

“We think [the government’s majority] is vulnerable to erosion due to defections as politicians position themselves ahead of the next presidential election in 2015.” – Fernandez’s government downplays electoral setback in Argentina, Reuters, 28OCT13

 

Mauro Roca, Analyst, Goldman Sachs

“Massa was very careful about not explicitly mentioning his presidential intentions during his victory speech, but his carefully drafted speech was probably the most presidential of all…With a conciliatory tone, he committed himself to work on issues such as poverty and inflation which matter more to the electorate, and to cross the boundaries of the province of Buenos Aires.” – Fernandez’s government downplays electoral setback in Argentina, Reuters, 28OCT13

 

Ignacio Fidanza, Director, lapoliticaonline.com

“There are two possible scenarios after these elections. One is that the current model becomes more radical, which means not making the economic adjustments it should.” Another is that “a more rational sector takes hold, one that says, ‘This road will end badly, and necessary corrections must be made.'” – Argentine election loss makes leader vulnerable, Associated Press, 28OCT13

 

 

Sample of open source research by TRG analysts related to the elections in Argentina:

 

1. Cristina’s come-uppance

 

Media: The Economist

Byline: N/A

Date: 02 November 2013

 

POWER in Argentina is like mercury. It drains swiftly from troubled leaders, flooding towards their most likely successors. That is the prospect facing the president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, after a mid-term congressional election on October 27th. Having driven her country’s economy close to a precipice, she still has two more years in office. They look as if they will be bumpy ones—even assuming she makes a full recovery from the head injury that prevented her campaigning during the last four weeks.

 

On paper, Ms Fernández did not fare badly in the election. She retained a narrow majority in Congress. Her opponents are divided three ways. Her group within Argentina’s all-embracing Peronist movement remains the country’s largest single political force. But it won only 33% of the vote, down from the 54% she secured in winning a second term in 2011. In politically crucial Buenos Aires province, it was trounced by a rival Peronist list led by Sergio Massa, who served as Ms Fernández’s cabinet chief before breaking with her.

 

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2. The Kirchners: Goodbye to all that?

 

Media: Financial Times

Byline: Benedict Mander

Date: 29 October 2013

 

Amado Boudou, Argentina’s gaffe-prone vice-president, took the microphone at the government’s late-night post-election rally on Sunday. Flushed and almost euphoric, he promptly claimed victory for the ruling coalition in midterm congressional elections.

 

Mr Boudou then assured supporters that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is recovering from an operation three weeks ago to treat bleeding on the brain after a head injury, will soon be back “in full force”.

 

But Ms Fernández herself was conspicuous by her absence after a poll that is being widely interpreted as a highly significant defeat and a turning point for Argentina’s economy.

 

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3. Voters, in Midterm Elections, Give New Momentum to the Opposition in Argentina

 

Media: New York Times

Byline: Jonathan Gilbert

Date: 28 October 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES — After a decade of family rule in Argentina, the political tenor has begun to change.

 

Argentines voted in midterm elections on Sunday that gave new momentum to the opposition, most significantly in Buenos Aires Province, home to more than 15 million people in this nation of 40 million.

 

The Renewal Front party, for which Sergio Massa, a municipal mayor, headed the list of candidates, won heavily here with almost 44 percent of the vote, 12 points ahead of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s party, the Front for Victory.

 

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4. Is the dynasty over? Mid-term election setback for party of Argentina’s President Cristina de Kirchner

 

Media: The Independent (UK)

Byline: Ed Stocker

Date: 28 October 2013

 

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government has taken a battering in key mid-term elections in Argentina, calling into question the durability of the outspoken President’s political model. The results are also a rebuff of the 60-year-old leader’s chances of standing for re-election in the presidential elections in 2015, a defeat that would mean more than a decade of family rule could be coming to an end.

 

The mid-term elections became a litmus test for Kirchnerism, the “national and popular project”, as it is referred to by its followers, that has become government doctrine since Ms Fernandez’s now-deceased husband Nestor Kirchner assumed the presidency in 2003, passing the mantle to his wife in 2007. Sunday’s elections – in which 16- and 17-year-olds voted for the first time – took place on the third anniversary of his death, with government coalition Victory Front candidates emphasising his legacy in a last-minute drive to improve their tally.

 

It had been widely suggested that the President wanted to change the constitution in order to be able to run for a third term in two years’ time when her current mandate ends. But despite hanging on to majorities in both chambers of Congress – subject to negotiations – the government fell far short of the two-thirds majority it would have needed to push the reforms through.

 

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5. Cristina Fernández’s party loses ground to former ally in Argentina’s election

 

Media: The Guardian (UK)

Byline: Jonathan Watts and Uki Goni

Date: 27 October 2013

 

Argentina began counting down to the end of the decade-long rule of the Kirchners on Sundayas mid-term elections dealt a near fatal blow to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s prospects of running for a third term.

 

Three weeks after undergoing brain surgery, the 60-year-old president was unable to campaign and could only watch as her Peronist Front for Victory party looked certain to fall far short of the two-thirds majority that would have been needed to revise the constitution so she could seek re-election when her current term expires in 2015.

 

While the president’s star has fallen, her erstwhile cabinet minister, Sergio Massa, rose to prominence after quitting the government four years ago and running as a candidate for the Renewal Front, a breakaway faction within Fernández’s party.

 

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