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Perspectives on the Newly Elected Fernández’s Foreign Policy

23 1 0
26.01.2020

Latin America has been observed by electoral specialists for a long time. It has been an interesting case study from the electoral point of view with many twists between left and right-oriented governments. These represented significative changes in the foreign policy agenda between multilateral negotiations, and articulation and agreements with developing countries.

This article aims to discuss the changes that may happen in Argentina with the election of a new government regarding its relationship with other countries. Special attention will be given to its regional behavior focusing on Brazil, Argentina’s long-term partner with whom it has several signed agreements, especially now that the partners have governments of different ideological orientations.

In the October 2019 general elections, Argentina went to the polls for the main test of Mauricio Macri’s liberal economic program and one of the most polarized presidential races of recent decades in Argentina. Seeking re-election, Macri attained 40.3 percent of the votes and yet was beaten by the 48.2 attained by his main opponent, Alberto Fernández, elected in the first round among other four candidates that did not reach 10 percent of the votes together. More than the defeat of a mandate marked by pressure from its creditors and the unpopularity resulting from deteriorated economic indexes, Fernández’s victory represents, with the former president Cristina Kirchner as his vice-president, a return of Peronist forces ahead of the country and of a left leadership in Latin America’s current conjecture. From the Justicialist Party, the new president has preciously integrated Raúl Alfonsín’s Economy Ministry (1983-1989), approached Peronist liberal-wings under the Carlos Menem government (1989-1999), and advised Néstor Kirchner’s candidacy when he became the Chief of Cabinet for his entire tenure (2003-2007). In Cristina Kirchner’s government (2007-2015) he maintained the same post but left on her first year of mandate remaining politically distant since then. In this sense, Cristina’s recent waiver to run for president even though she led the polls, and his choice of her as plate partner in the Frente de Todos coalition, reflected an effort to broaden its compositions among heterogeneous and fragmented political sectors, as Alberto’s own political trajectory.

In mid-2018, Argentina came to terms with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a loan of US$44 billion, that became IMF’s largest volume of money ever granted by the Fund in its history, which was expanded to US$57 billion a few months later. Intended only as a stand-by agreement to increase liquidity and strengthen confidence amid the country’s cambial crisis, 83 percent of the loan that Macri’s administration received, around US$44 billion, ended up being allocated to repay other debts, that undefined restructure attempts of debt with private creditors soon pointed to the same path for IMF’s terms. This resulted in extremely high levels of debt that may express the major challenge that the new government internally inherits, and suggests where Argentinian foreign policy priorities should be placed. However, Fernández seems to have other priorities in foreign policy which he has sought to address in the programmatic terms of........

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