Friday, February 27, 2015

Argentina in Crisis

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner wanted to change Argentina’s constitution and run for a third term. Her government is now so disliked that she can’t consider a constitutional change and, as of today, would be unlikely to win a third term.

So the presidential election has started for a first round vote in October this year. Ms. Fernández has a 25 percent approval and most people (70%) believe that a state prosecutor, who was about to indict her and members of her government for obstructing an investigation, died from a suicide or assassination. A criminal indictment filed by a new prosecutor was dismissed by an Argentinian judge. She denies any involvement in the obstruction or death of the prosecutor, but the latest incident, along with a struggling commodities-dominated economy, has left her and her Peronist Party in trouble.

Public opinion in Latin America is regularly measured in the Americas Barometer. The latest edition shows increased polarization. A fifth of Argentinians rate President Fernández de Kirchner either “very good” or “very bad,” up from six percent in 2008.

Trust in governing institutions. Argentina tends to be among the low end of countries in terms of public trust in the executive (president) – 42%. The U.S. is also low (39%) and Venezuela is at the bottom of the list (36%).

Corruption. Argentina is ranked third from the top in public perception of corruption among Latin American countries. Venezuela is at the top.

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