Máximo Kirchner and La Cámpora voted against
The agreement with the IMF to refinance the USD 44 billion debt contracted during the government of Mauricio Macri obtained half a sanction today from the Chamber of Deputies after a broad political agreement between the Front of All and Together for Change.
However, the most resonant political fact of the day was the rejection of Máximo Kirchner and the deputies of his space. Among the legislators who militate in “hard” Kirchnerism are Constanza Alonso, Cristina Britez, Mabel Carrizo, Leila Chaher, Marcos Cleri, Gabriela Estevez, Emiliano Estrada, Santiago Igon, Rogelio Iparraguirre, Florencia Lampreabe, Tomás Ledesma, Lucila Masin, Magali Mastaler, Paula Penacca, Rodolgo Tailhade, Marisa Uceda, and Lucio Yapor. They all rejected the deal.
As explained by the Frente de Todos, both Máximo Kirchner and the rest of the campers sought not to generate more tension during the debate – so as not to ignite the “hawks” of the opposition – and for this reason they did not participate in the individual exhibitions. They also avoided advancing their position to the press and to their own blockmates.
Finally, minutes before the vote, when Germán Martínez was making the closing speech for the ruling party, Máximo Kirchner entered the room almost hidden and sat on his bench, trying not to attract attention.
The son of Vice President Cristina Kirchner had resigned as head of the Frente de Todos bloc of deputies after the official announcement that Martín Guzmán had reached an agreement in principle with the Fund’s technical staff. Kirchner argued that he did not share the negotiation strategy of the Minister of Economy and explained that he was stepping aside so that Alberto Fernández could appoint another caucus leader who would be in charge of collecting the votes that the Casa Rosada needed.
The silence of Máximo and Cristina Kirchner, once the details of the understanding were known, did nothing but multiply speculation and embolden the hard-line sectors of the opposition, who warned that the ruling party did not have the votes to advance on its own and was forced to negotiate. .
Finally, Together for Change asserted the new relationship of forces and forced the Government to change the wording of the articles and eliminate all references to the economic program that Guzmán negotiated.
In the morning, Máximo Kirchner arrived before the start of the session and participated in the previous block meeting. Both the ruling party and the opposition were waiting to see what he would do at the beginning of the debate. The leader of La Cámpora did not sit on his bench to give the quorum, but the ruling party managed to add the 129 places to start the debate.
In Deputies the internal fracture of the Front of All deepened
The political signal was confusing, given that Paula Penacca, parliamentary secretary of the bloc, and other fielders such as Marcos Cleri, did provide a quorum. The three deputies from Patria Grande -Itai Hagman, Federico Fagioli and Natalia Zaracho- were also present, the space led by Juan Grabois who had announced yesterday at a press conference that he would not accompany the government project.
Minutes before 7:00 p.m., the first list of individual speakers began to circulate unofficially, and once again it was striking that Máximo and the deputies in his space did not sign up to speak. Until the previous day, it was discounted that in case of abstaining or voting against, they would use that space to explain their reasons and establish their political position.
By mid-afternoon, the president of the bloc, Germán Martínez, still did not know how the campers would vote. They even pointed out from those around them that they had never asked Máximo directly and resignedly acknowledged that the bloc’s position “was never going to be unanimous”. The cards were already laid and there was no room to continue negotiating wills.
Given the Kirchnerist absences, the role of “spokesperson” for the toughest sectors fell to Itai Hagman. The economist who is a member of Patria Grande began by pointing out that “every time the IMF intervened in Argentina, it left us worse off than before.”
Along these lines, he targeted the “finance geniuses” of the Cambiemos government for squandering the 2018 loan by sustaining “capital flight.” But he also criticized Guzmán’s negotiation for being “constrained within IMF rules.”
“With this agreement I see it difficult for us to achieve a sustained growth process with income redistribution. We are not militants of the default, it was seen in the way we act today. Difficult times are coming. We will be fighting with our government against the pressures of the IMF”, he concluded.
At the end of the session, La Cámpora released a long document detailing the reasons for their vote. In the conclusions, they stated that the agreed Program implies applying a “foolish adjustment in the current circumstances of the country.”
“The application of the policies of this agreement will not only not solve any of the structural problems of the Argentine bi-monetary economy, but will aggravate them,” he continues.
Although they clarify that this does not imply ignoring the debt, they pointed out that this does not mean “forgetting the responsibilities that are being discussed in criminal proceedings.” One of the many points of conflict when negotiating the original project.
Violent protest against the IMF: they attacked the front of Congress and threw a Molotov cocktail at the PoliceWithout reactions from Kirchnerism, the opposition repudiated the attack on Congress and the aggression against the Police