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The Three Peronisms

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This is an original English translation of the article ‘Los Tres Peronismos‘, which appeared first in El Diplo edition 208.

All three Peronism are present in Argentina’s National Congress (Photo via Wikimedia Commons/GameOfLight)

There are three Peronisms.

The ‘Kirchnerist’ Peronism, which led the party using more stick than carrot during its time in government and took responsibility for developing its tactical campaigns, was obviously weakened by last year’s elections. Its resources of power are limited but not insignificant: though it’s hard to provide an exact count, it has control over one province (governor of Santa Cruz), around 20 municipalities in Buenos Aires province, and a strong representation in Congress through a dozen senators and some 30 lower-house legislators. This is sufficient to carry weight among party groups, but not enough for a veto power, meaning it cannot block the government’s initiatives or approve its own bills without support from other members of Frente para la Victoria or the ‘dissident’ Peronist legislators. This requires performing some negotiating gymnastics that the Kirchnerist block is not accustomed to.

In short, Kirchnerism has few institutional representatives to express its ideological slant, a situation exacerbated by a failure to build its own union movement, its limited reach in the universities, and the fact that key governors like Jorge Capitanich (Chaco) or Sergio Uribarri (Entre Ríos) were succeeded by less loyal figures.

For this reason, Kirchnerism’s key strategic asset lies not in the accumulation of institutional spaces but in three factors that are difficult to quantity but hold a lot of value: the territorial strength of its activist movements, predominately the middle-class urban youth; the influence it still has over significant sectors of society who rightly value the advances made during 12 years in power; and the leadership of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who maintains an approval rating and political weight that inevitably puts her on the front line – a type of permanent presidential candidate light years ahead of other Kirchnerist leaders.

Freed from the responsibilities of daily management, and without needing to negotiate to receive funding from the national government, the Kirchnerist group can lead the head-on opposition to President Mauricio Macri’s austerity drive. The risk is that, by transforming into a sort of “Kirchnerist cultural centre”, the group will turn in on itself........

© Argentina Independent