The voters of Argentina will have a major choice to make in the upcoming November 22nd runoff presidential elections. The choice is between Daniel Scioli, who is favored by the current president Cristina Kirchner, and his opponent Mauricio Macri. Each man has different visions for the future of Argentina. Mr. Scioli, a former vice president is close to President Kirchner and as such would continue most of her foreign and domestic policies. Mr. Macri, who was a businessman and now the current mayor of Buenos Aires, would be a departure from Kirchnerism and says he would support free markets and a more centrist foreign policy.

In the first round of presidential elections that took place on October 25, contrary to all expectations, Mr. Scioli from the ruling party, Front for Victory (Frente para la Victoria) received almost 37% of the vote while Mr. Macri took over 34% of the vote.

Supporters of Mr. Scioli were not sure whether Mr. Scioli would win in the first round or in the runoff but they were confident about his victory. But the results ended in a setback for the ruling party and at this point, based on the polls, Mr. Scioli is not likely to win. The Front for Victory also lost the Province of Buenos Aires, where Mr. Scioli is still the governor, to Maria Eugenia Vidal, a woman who until a few months ago was completely unknown.

Since October 25, the ruling party is in a state of panic. As a result, Mr. Scioli is making populist pledges promising that the value of the dollar will be brought to less than 10 Argentinean pesos. Scioli also promised to adopt part of the platform of another party, United for a New Alternative (Unidos por una Nueva Alternativa) led by Sergio Massa, a former chief of staff of Mrs. Kirchner. Massa created UNA in coalition with the Christian Democrats, whose leader is Jose Manuel de la Sota, a three times Governor of the Province of Cordoba, also a Peronist like Kirchner but who also broke and distanced himself from Kirchner.

Massa, whose home was burglarized by a state agent in 2013 when he began to challenge Mrs. Kirchner, defined the political vision of Mrs. Kirchner and her party as a “dead political project”. Massa received more than 21 % of the vote in the election. Massa’s statement on Kirchnerism sends a strong message to his voters that he would prefer Mr. Macri rather than Mr. Scioli.

Indeed, polls indicate that Macri is leading in the polls by 8 to 11%.

It has been recently reported by the Associated Press that Mr. Macri has said he will directly challenge the left-wing governments in the region and that he will not do business with Venezuela until the government there releases all of its political prisoners.

Meanwhile, the Government of Cristina Kirchner wants to continue its mandate and has taken certain steps since the October25th election to assure a positive outcome for its preferred candidate, Mr. Scioli. The government proceeded to appoint 300 new judges presumably sympathetic to Kirchner and her political project. The goal was to secure continuity and hegemony as the intellectual Ernesto Laclau (now dead) suggested to the president. However, on November 6, the Argentinean Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the method developed by Kirchner of appointing judges without the Senate’s approval. That was another setback to the shameful undemocratic and systematic colonization of the judicial power by the government.

The ruling party even created a group of pro-government judges called “Legitimate Justice” that became ardent defenders of the government even as the government was advancing over the judiciary.

A mass rally of prosecutors took place last February in support of the prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, who died in January in mysterious circumstances one day before he was to testify against the government before the Argentinean Congress. More than half a million people joined the march. In May another judges’ protest emerged as Ms. Kirchner tried to expel a Supreme Court justice over his advanced age.

In short, as Luis Fleischman has already written about last May, the Argentinean government has strayed far from pursuing a democratic path. It has attempted to destroy almost every institution and every entity that dared to challenge or judge it. In this regard, the Kirchner regime aims at expanding state control over the media, the judiciary, and everything that is autonomous.

In the region, Kirchner’s Argentina became a pillar of support and apologetics of the Venezuelan government. Furthermore, Kirchner admired Hugo Chavez and became the most Chavista among the non-ALBA countries.

A defeat for the candidate of the ruling Front for Victory Party could be a major blow to the regional coalition built in Latin America over the course of the last 10 years.

Removing the Kirchner government from power on November 22 will have negative consequences for the left wing regional coalition. This coalition has de-facto destroyed the democratic charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) and strengthen authoritarian governments such as Venezuela and Cuba. , Likewise, it generated cynicism towards freedom and democracy that raised so many hopes for the region two decades ago.

Therefore, in a region that is so interconnected, a defeat for the Front for Victory Party could bring down another set of bricks of the foundation of a very defective the regional block. This could raise hopes for Argentina and for Latin America.

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