The week was turbulent in the corridors of Casa Rosada. In a still undefined scenario, President Alberto Fernández confirmed this Friday (17) that he had announced the renewal of his cabinet between today and tomorrow
The Peronist coalition Frente de Todos (FdT) exposed internal disagreements between Vice President Cristina Kirchner and the president after the electoral defeat in last Sunday’s legislative primaries (12).
The ballot box revealed a wide victory for Juntos por el Cambio (PvP). It is the coalition of former president Mauricio Macri, responsible for governing the country from 2015 to 2019 and signing a loan of US$ 57 billion (R$ 300 billion) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that is currently putting pressure on Argentina’s budget.
Read more: Debt deals with the IMF would still make Argentina subordinate, economists say
The second chapter of the crisis began on Wednesday (15), when several Kirchnerist national and provincial ministers made their resignations available, a sign of pressure for the presidency.
The entire office of the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof, formally presented his resignation in the face of the electoral defeat, as a recognition that the governor must decide with which team to take the next steps. The gesture was considered a suggestion to the president.
In the federal government, the interior ministers, Eduardo de Pedro; of Justice, Martín Soria; of Culture, Tristán Bauer; and the Environment and Sustainable Development, Juan Cabandie, linked to Cristina Kirchner, also made their resignation available.
“I will order the cabinet and end this discussion,” said the president, according to the newspaper El Desape. The “discussion” is revealed, in fact, as a strong dissent in the FdT coalition between Kirchnerism and Albertism about how to conduct the government in the face of the economic crisis, mainly. With the mediation of the disputes, it was made clear how the Kirchnerist wing considers Alberto too moderate, and that the group expected an immediate reaction to change cabinets, starting with the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, the Minister of Development, Matías Kulfas, and the head of cabinet, Santiago Cafiero, main target of Kirchnerism.
This opinion was further explained with a leaked audio by federal deputy Fernanda Vallejos. In 11 minutes, Cristina’s congresswoman allied with Cristina describes President Alberto Fernández as a “mequetrefe” and “deaf” for not heeding Kirchnerism’s readings on how to run the government, as well as directing explicit insults to various officials chosen by the president. “They have to understand that they wouldn’t be in government if it weren’t for Cristina,” he said. “Alberto couldn’t dream of being even a mayor.”
Shortly after the leaked audio was released, the deputy published on your twitter an apology and said he was part of a “private conversation” marked by the “anguish” created by the results of the caucuses.
Alberto Fernández, in turn, spoke on the same social network in a conciliatory tone and stressed that “the coalition must listen to the message from the ballot boxes and act responsibly.”
“The arrogance does not affect me. The administration of the government will continue to develop in the way that I consider convenient. For this reason I was elected”, continued the president of Argentina.
The government coalition must listen to the message of the ballot boxes and act with full responsibility. We must do it, and we will do it, to ensure that the needs of our pueblo are met.
— Alberto Fernández (@alferdez) September 16, 2021
Later, a letter published by Cristina Kirchner accentuated the tone of the internal differences, which the population and the media anxiously follow. In a long text, the vice-president explains in her unmistakable style that she predicted the outcome of the primary election and was not heard by the president, who had to request a meeting two days after Sunday’s election. “I deliberately let 48 hours pass to see if he called me,” says Kirchner in the letter that generated so many hits that it took down the site on which it was hosted.
“I sincerely trust that with the same strength and conviction that he faced the pandemic, the President will not only relaunch his government, but that he will sit down with his Minister of Economy to look at the budget figures”, he says, referring to the 2022 government budget sent in a rush on troubled Wednesday night.
“When I made the decision, and I say it in the first person singular because it really was like that, to propose Alberto Fernández as a candidate for President of all Argentines, I did so with the conviction that it was the best thing for my country,” wrote Cristina Kirchner, closing the letter urging the president to “honor that decision” and with the “will of the people.”
Read the letter in its entirety.
Edition: Thales Schmidt