Argentina: The defeat in Misiones has obliged Kirchner`s government to reorganize and prepare for next year’s elections.
After the defeat in Misiones and the changes in Jujuy and Buenos Aires, the national government is reorganizing itself in those areas anticipating next year’s presidential and provincial elections.
In Kirchnerist slang this time is known as “the blender machine”: the process before the definition of the party candidate in a district during which potential candidates proliferate like fungus.
The amount of competitors that have shown interest in becoming the candidate for the official party is staggering. Even Kirchner had to ask their collaborators to stop talking about runners and the elections as a whole. At least until January.
In the Province of Buenos Aires the two main contestants are Aníbal Fernandez (current Interior Minister) and Senator José Pampuro. Both are Kirchner’s soldiers and rivalry between them has grown considerably.
It has been typical of this administration for the President to directly appoint who would run for each election. Especially, there is a preference to use very close collaborators as candidates. This is the case of Rafael Bielsa, (previous Foreign Affairs Minister), and Alicia Kirchner (Social Development Minister) to whom Kirchner invited to run for Senators in the November 2005 elections. Both figures abandoned their position once they were elected (but not during the campaign). Note: Alicia Kirchner returned to her ministerial position in mid 2006, leaving her seat at the Congress empty, after a request from the President (her brother). The Social Development Ministry is key for next year’s presidential elections as it establishes a direct relations with the voters (by, among other things, providing government plans for the unemployed, free materials to build houses, or sets of house wares for the needy).
Surprisingly (or not) there are rumors that Alicia Kirchner might be asked, once again, to leave her position and to run for Governor in the heavily populated and Peronist stronghold, Province of Buenos Aires. However, she is not registered as a voter there, and it is a requisite to be registered in the place you are running for. Will Kirchner bypass that?
Another possible candidate could be the very popular First Lady: Cristina Kirchner. She is currently a Senator for the Province of Buenos Aires where she won with a comfortable margin. However, there are talks that she might be the Presidential candidate next year, potentially succeeding her husband in the position.
More names are mentioned in this democratic euphoria: Sergio Massa (head of the Social Security Agency), Leon Arslanian (Ministry of Security of the Province of BsAs) and Florencio Randazzo (current Government Minister of the Province of BsAs).
It seems that Kirchner would be interested in offering the position to previous mayors of different cities of the Province, because of the administrative experience they have.
The last word has not been said. This is distinctive from Kirchner’s administration: keeping everybody uninformed (especially the press) until the very last minute. On the meanwhile, confusion reigns.
As they say, a blender machine.
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