Without consensus leaders, a crisis like those of 1989 or 2001 is more likely

Like him bureaucracy as the opposition they cling to an expectation: when the PASOs arrive, they will be able to relegitimize their leadership, and then they will be able to overcome the current fragmentation and dispersion. Until then, no choice but to endure the deluge of the crisis with what is available: very divided coalitions and parties, who have no way of dealing with their internal problems. So they stretch them and entangle them, and a the only thing they can aspire to is to avoid breakups irreversible effects.

The ace Takeover bid, simultaneous and compulsory open primaries, appear in this description as the key to solving the problems that political forces face today. Both that of its divisions, and that, decisive, of the growing mistrust in society. But beyond that possibly this vote can offer a way outthe truth is that, for the moment and until it materializes, makes these problems worsebecause it unnecessarily prolongs the time to resolve the problem.

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The crisis requires flexibility and speed of response, and the prison system in force since 2009 prevents the parties from ensuring this. The comparison with what they did in the two more serious attacks of the democratic scene, those of 1989 and 2001It serves to shed light on the problem.

In the 1980s, we still had parties capable of defending their role and meeting their challenges. Thanks to which, although the economic crisis has completely escaped the control of the Alfonsín government, the system managed to quickly generate a replacementand our democracy has remained afloat.

Carlos Menem and Antonio Cafiero, in 1988, fought for the presidential candidacy within the PJ (Photo: Courtesy Clarín).

What did the parties do then? Simple: Advanced first their internal after that also the elections generals.

the PJ elected its candidate in July 1988, a year and a half before the date originally scheduled for the presidential elections. As we will remember, Carlos Menem defeated on this occasion to Antonio Cafieroin an exemplary competition that legitimized a new leadership among the Peronists, thanks to the massive and direct vote of its affiliates. It was largely thanks to these internees that Peronism was able to hold out through the ensuing three years of fierce economic instability.

Moreover, following this election, the radicalism then he was in power obliged to also speed up their selection process candidates. And Alfonsín was the first to understand it. So he raised his hand to the candidate who had the best chance, Edouard Angelozwith whom he did not get along very well, but that did not stop him: he had to end the internal conflicts within his party as soon as possible, because if they continued, they would weaken his government even more.

In short, the main Argentine parties and their leaders acted with responsibility and were flexible and attentive to what the situation they faced dictated. That it demanded rapid and innovative responses from them.

Advancing the selection of candidates was the best way found, both by the party in power and by the opposition at the time, to prevent political uncertainty which alone generated the presidential succession, will get worse and further fueling the already raging race of prices, the dollar and flight of currency.

Raúl Alfonsín waves to the crowd that attended the closing ceremony at the obelisk in October 1983.
Raúl Alfonsín waves to the crowd that attended the closing ceremony at the obelisk in October 1983.

If the two forces had also been able to cooperate minimally with each other, they could even have avoided hyperinflation. Still, it didn’t give them, but at least they managed to deal with the alternation and avoid that the economic disaster stretched over time, delegitimized the system in general and will carry the young institutions republicans.

A little more than a decade later, these same parties would be faced, much more weakened, with a new economic catastrophe: the collapse of convertibility. The ace divisions of the PJ and the UCR contributed and what aggravate this crisis. And they largely explain both the fall of De la Rúa and the succession of five presidents in the last days of 2001.

The bone radicals this time they had no way to resolve their internal conflicts, which led them to suffer two deep schisms and go through a long and deep crisis, from which they are still recovering. But at least the The Peronists managed to avoid their ownresort to a solution for that: that each sector presented its candidate in the general election of 2003, with which Eduardo Duhalde, in collaboration with Alfonsin, he would manage to keep the emergency government afloat long enough for the economy to stabilize and the conditions for recovery to be created. The decade of expansion that followed was forged in those crucial months of 2002 thanks, once again, to the flexibility and speed with which the problems of leadership in the parties have been faced.

Hey, none of the main strengths in conflict can do something like this. Because of a system that is too rigid, unsuited to dealing with crisis situations, and therefore tends rather to aggravate them.

We refer of course to the Takeover bidinvented more than a decade ago by Néstor Kirchner precisely to complicate the possible succession to the leadership of the PJ, and which very they have had little use so far. But in the midst of a crisis of economic governance, increasingly resembling that of the late 1980s, they may end up showing that they are not only quite useless and costly, but may even be very harmful.

And the system is too rigid: obliges all parties and alliances to settle their candidatures with the same rule, on a single date, and establishes it very close to the legislative elections. When parties and fronts are aligned behind a leadership that controls the main levers of power, they serve no purpose. Basically to make competition even more difficult: unique lists are presented to the PASOs, already typed with the command of political forces, subordinating or excluding dissidents. This is what happened between 2011 and 2019.

When parties and fronts are disunited, but a government is not elected and there is no acute crisis, they can be moderately useful, although they are still very expensive and bulkyas was observed in the case of JxC in 2021. But if they happen to be disunited and there is a crisis, the system is not only useless, but harmful: prevents political forces from reacting in advance in the face of weakening public authority and trust, and hinders the search for more flexible mechanisms and better adapted to the circumstances. This is what is happening right now.

Eduardo Duhalde takes over the presidency of the Nation in January 2002 (photo: DYN)
Eduardo Duhalde takes over the presidency of the Nation in January 2002 (photo: DYN)

The data that best describes the resulting scenario is that internals of parties and alliances stretch and get more and more complicatedand the only thing that the protagonists of so much confusion manage to do is to wait for the PASO: “Already we will solve it, when it comes time to voteIn a year and a few months. That doesn’t seem like a very reasonable response, given the emergencies society is experiencing, so she punishes leaders for being “only attentive to their problems and ignoring those of the people.”

It is true that many of these leaders are prone to error and have more problems themselves. It’s not about excusing them. But maybe they’re no worse than those from the late 1980s or early 2000s, nor is it true that “they are only interested in their”. It happens that they can’t get rid of itas their predecessors did in the crisis situations they had to face, because they come up against a structural limit that is very difficult to lift: very rigid and very slow rules of the game.

Is there a solution to this blocking table of a party system that should adapt much more quickly to the situation it faces? Could part of the ruling party and the opposition cooperate to relax these rules of the game? Important parts of FofT and PvC should participate and work against the clock, because The deeper the crisis in these two spaces deepens, the more difficult it will be to reach an agreement.. But for various reasons, they are unlikely to even try.

A PASO reform would require the special majority of both chambersbecause it is an election issue. With 129 votes in the deputies and 37 in the Senate today, it is almost impossible.

Moreover, intersecting expectations within the ruling party and the opposition conspire against seeking such a solution. In her Executive they still think ‘the worst is behind us’, so the longer the better. They believe they will have a better chance of the economy picking up, and also enhance the image of the members of the government, if they do the opposite of what Alfonsín, Menem and Duhalde did: then they sit and wait. A vain hope, because the worst is probably still waiting for us. But as they say, those who have nothing still have hope.

The link between Cristina Kirchner and Alberto Fernández, at worst.  (Photo: Telam)
The link between Cristina Kirchner and Alberto Fernández, at worst. (Photo: Telam)

In addition, the experience of 2019 weighs against a possible overrun of the PASOs, when a very poor result in this vote for the official lists weakened the executive’s ability to control the economy in the remaining months of its mandate. , and buried his chances for the general election. In the current circumstances, even if ultimately the Takeover bid would serve to fight the battle Between Alberto and Cristina, surely the results would weaken bothso neither, nor their supporters, have much incentive to finish the glass.

In opposition, especially in JxCin the meantime, there is less and less chance of reaching agreements, in particular on the selection of candidates. Macri’s strategy seems to be the opposite: he even promotes the breaking of the legislative agreements that had been reached, for example, on the rental law, against all the efforts of the rest of the allies to show themselves building a program consensus.

And, as if they were missing, they keep adding presidential candidates. They repeat “see you soon at PASO”, as if it were the magic solution to all problems. A hope is also vain, because at the rate we are going, it is more and more difficult to know under what conditions Blessed PASO will find usand there’s a growing chance that by the time they arrive, be too late for the few who today have, in addition to hopes, possibilities, ideas and a certain capacity for leadership.

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