Argentinian politics: why there is no opposition?

  • Borgen



    40-year old political leader Birgitte Nyborg secures her party a landslide victory through her idealism and huge effort, then faces the biggest challenge of her life: how most effectively to use the newly won seats, and how far she is willing to go in order to gain as much influence as possible. Read more


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    My husband always described as 'very modern' the Constitution of Argentina, but I am little perplexed that once a government is elected, it has free say on everything. There is no compromising with the opposition, no discussion that involve also the opposing party. Basically, who is in charge does whatever they want, the party member, like a sect of acolytes, simply vote en masse what they are told. There are no nuances, no voices out of the chorus (a more conservative fringe, or a more moderate one), no discussion.

    Even in my dysfunctional home country politics there is always some negotiation with the other coalition of parties, and I would have thought that having one big party on the other side would mean even more powerful negotiations. Instead, there is none.

    Can somebody explain why there is no room for negotiation? We have just finished watching the series Borgen on Netflix and one line of the neo-elected Danish Prime Minister stuck with me: "I am the prime minister of all Danishes, not only of those who voted me".

    BTW, I recommend the series wholeheartedly.

  • serafina , I have asked this same question. What happens to the opposition? During campaigns, both sides are very vocal. Then the minute after the election, the losing party simply disappears until the next election. They are missing such an opportunity to stay in the public eye and to keep pressure on the power in power. Wasted opportunity! And four years later, the opposition enters the next election cycle forgotten, weakened, and starting from a huge disadvantage.

    What is the point?

    • Official Post

    serafina , I have asked this same question. What happens to the opposition? During campaigns, both sides are very vocal. Then the minute after the election, the losing party simply disappears until the next election.

    I don't think they disappear: Bullrich, Carriò and others remain very vocals; Macri speaks from time to time. However, their voice can be heard only on La Nación and Perfil, never on Página 12 or other newspapers (which others are there, by the way?).

    As Splinter mentioned, unfortunately there is no strong leader in the opposition. Macri is not fit for this high pressure role, he doesn't NEED to be President. He is too much of an entrepreneur to the public eye, so not many can identify with him.

    To me, these are the issues:

    1) The leader should embody his/her electorate.

    Just like in the US, the opposite leader should represent (in his personal story, with his voice, acts, and politics) the other half of the electorate. I.e. you can't hope that a senior white male embodies 'diversity' in the US or those who are targeted by Trump. I am sorry, Biden. And in Argentina, you can't hope that a rich dull character like Macri represents the Argentinian middle class fighting to get by. He is also very clumsy and not smart. He is a boludo con plata. Vidal, instead, was a perfect example: modest family, determined, hard worker, no businesses beside politics, never spotted abroad doing fancy holidays in European Capital cities while the country needs her voice.

    2) The news are strongly partisan in Argentina.

    Who reads Página 12 has a stilted view, just as much as who reads La Nación. The narrative is 180°. Remember when I was pointing that searching 'dolar parallelo' and 'dolar blue' hardly got any result on Página 12? Well, they have changed it to 'dolar ilegal' to support the draconian monetary measures (cepo).

    Even on TV (which I don't watch), you tune on C5N and you are in the K-land and stuff that makes the K uncomfortable is not reported.

    I have tried to read several newspapers' take on the same subject, but the issue is exactly that: they don't talk about the same stuff, and when they do, it's in a completely opposite fashion. There is no middle ground. Ever.

    3) The system is not a real democracy

    ... or so it appears. This was exactly my question. What in the Argentinian Parliament is different and makes that there is no dealing with the opposite party/ies, at all?! Or it is the same mechanism as elsewhere, but the people twist it so that the government in charge is a solid no-nuance mono-block that votes in bulk and compactly?

  • Churchill was right about that chat with the average voter. I shudder to think of people going to vote without first reading the candidates’ records and their stands on the issues. Yet that’s what democracy has come to. When the K’s first started raking in votes, they bribed people with choripan. The next time, the price became t-shirts. Eventually television sets and computers.

    In the US, a pre-election acceleration of the farm subsidy was announced (now 40% of farm income is provided by taxpayers), the govt is scrambling to get prescription gift cards in the mail to seniors, and notes signed by the president inside food boxes provided by taxpayers to those recently unemployed by the virus).

    Argentina has a weak, at best, opposition voice. America has a vigorous opposition. Yet in both countries, the party in power can freely buy votes with taxpayer-provided gifts to segments of the population.

    Is there any country today with an educated electorate and a non-corrupt government?

  • Should Vidal be the opposition leader ? I think she is bright but since she lost the last election in BsAs province , she has also taken a back seat.

    Larreta? Not convinced he is charismatic enough to do the job . An efficient administrator maybe but thats it.