Archive for 31 octubre 2015

Encuestas electorales mentirosas pro Scioli ¿pagó el Gobierno?

31 octubre, 2015

http://www.perfil.com/columnistas/Subjetividad-y-encuestas-20151030-0154.html

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DURA ADVERTENCIA DE ZANNINI

30 octubre, 2015

http://www.clarin.com/politica/dura-advertencia-dejo-Zannini_0_1458454222.html

ARGENTINE UPDATE – Oct 29, 2015

30 octubre, 2015

BsAs — NYTimes Report on 36 Hours on the Town.. Video.. ENJOY

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/travel/what-to-do-in-36-hours-in-buenos-aires.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_tl_20151009&nl=travel-dispatch&nl_art=1&nlid=36165839&ref=headline&te=1

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1. ARGENTINE KINGMAKER SERGIO MASSA SPURNS KIRCHNER ALLY IN PRESIDENTIAL RUNOFF (The Wall Street Journal Online)

2. ANDRES OPPENHEIMER: A POLITICAL EARTHQUAKE IN ARGENTINA (Miami Herald)

3. MAURICIO MACRI VOWS TO END ARGENTINA’S ISOLATION (Financial Times)

4. SANTANDER SAYS ARGENTINE STOCKS COULD RALLY 30% AHEAD OF RUNOFF (Bloomberg News)

5. MERVAL COULD RALLY 30% AHEAD OF RUNOFF VOTE, CHIARVESIO SAYS (Bloomberg News)

6. MASSA ALLIES LEAN TOWARD OPPOSITION CHALLENGER IN PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF (Reuters News)

7. ARGENTINA’S MASSA TO ELECTION RIVALS: WANT MY VOTERS? HEED MY IDEAS (Reuters News)

8. U.S. JUDGE URGES ARGENTINA TO RESUME BOND LITIGATION TALKS (Reuters News)

9. ARGENTINE CORN SEEN WINNER FROM POSSIBLE ELECTION UPSET (Reuters News)

10. ARGENTINA’S KIRCHNER ERA ENDS (The New Yorker)

11. AFTER ARGENTINA ELECTION RALLY, FAVOR BANKS, UTILITIES, EXPORTER STOCKS? (Barron’s)

12. OPPOSITION CANDIDATE’S SURGE IN ARGENTINE ELECTION SUGGESTS IMPROVED BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
LIKELY, BUT FRACTURED CONGRESS POSES SIGNIFICANT HEADWINDS (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

13. THE LONG VIEW: HOW ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL STEPPED BACK FROM A NUCLEAR RACE (Americas Quarterly)

14. ‘DISGUSTING’ AND ‘BITTER’: THE AWFUL BOOZE ARGENTINA CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF (CNN Wire)

1. ARGENTINE KINGMAKER SERGIO MASSA SPURNS KIRCHNER ALLY IN PRESIDENTIAL RUNOFF (The Wall Street Journal Online)
By Taos Turner
28 October 2015

Dissident Peronist politician who ran third in first round withholds support for Daniel Scioli

BUENOS AIRES—Sergio Massa, Argentina’s dissident Peronist politician and a potential kingmaker in next month’s runoff vote, snubbed the favored candidate of President Cristina Kirchner on Wednesday, saying he favors politicians who seek a new path for the country.

“Argentina needs change,” Mr. Massa said.

He hasn’t officially endorsed either of the candidates who bested him and who will contest the runoff—Daniel Scioli of the ruling Peronist Victory Front Party and Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, 56 years old, a market-friendly businessman who heads the “Let’s Change” coalition. But Mr. Massa and his top allies are making it clear that they are eager to leave behind the policies of Mrs. Kirchner, who wanted her successor to be Mr. Scioli, a 58-year-old former powerboat racing champion who is governor of Buenos Aires province.

Roberto Lavagna, one of Mr. Massa’s top aides and a former economy minister, said he favored a break from the ruling party’s policies. “Clearly, change is a No vote for the Victory Front,” he said.

Another close and influential Massa ally, Gov. José Manuel de la Sota of Córdoba province, was more emphatic: “I’m not going to vote for Scioli.”

Mr. Massa, who was Mrs. Kirchner’s cabinet chief before breaking with her, called for both candidates to commit to a series of policy proposals ahead of the Nov. 22 second round, including plans to cut income taxes and combat corruption and narco-trafficking.

In comments made Tuesday, Mr. Massa suggested that Mr. Scioli wasn’t independent of Mrs. Kirchner, who has served two terms after succeeded her husband, Néstor, in 2007. Mr. Kirchner, who served one term, died in 2010.

“As long as he is not a leader of his own political force, he cannot govern anything,” Mr. Massa said of Mr. Scioli. He added that Mr. Scioli “has to stop being Cristina’s employee.”

At play are the 5 million voters who went for Massa, a 43-year-old former mayor of the sprawling riverine city of Tigre. In Sunday’s surprising results, Mr. Scioli fell short of what he needed to win the presidency outright, getting 37% of the vote to 34% for Mr. Macri.

Mr. Massa got 21%. But the politician, who has pointedly criticized alleged corruption in Mrs. Kirchner’s government, emerged as a force within Peronism, the ideologically pliable movement to which both he and Mr. Scioli belong.

“This is not about Peronism or anti-Peronism,” Mr. Massa said. “People have to choose between continuity and change. We’re choosing change.”

Analysts say it would be a mistake for Mr. Massa to openly endorse either candidate. Mr. Scioli could lose without Mr. Massa’s endorsement and the support of his voters. But if Mr. Massa endorses Mr. Macri, he could anger followers who aren’t ready to support a non-Peronist, particularly someone like Mr. Macri, who is seen as a friend of Wall Street.

A poll released Wednesday shows Mr. Macri beating Mr. Scioli 48% to 37% next month.

“Though we think these first results will not be definitive and include a good deal of inertia from the recent election, we see the odds of a Macri victory at 75%,” said Elypsis, an economic research firm, that closely predicted the first-round election.

What seems clear is that Mr. Massa is positioned to become the next leader of the Peronist movement if Mr. Macri wins the presidency, said Ana María Mustapic, a political scientist at Torcuato Di Tella University. “For Massa, it’s better for Scioli to lose badly,” Ms. Mustapic said.

Still, both candidates are trying to lure Mr. Massa and his supporters.

“We’re willing to agree on policies and to find common ground,” Mr. Macri said on Tuesday.

Mr. Scioli has said he is eager to listen to Mr. Massa’s ideas. “If you look at Massa’s voters you see that many are Peronists,” an aide to Mr. Scioli said. “In Scioli’s mind, they will vote for him, not Macri.”

2. ANDRES OPPENHEIMER: A POLITICAL EARTHQUAKE IN ARGENTINA (Miami Herald)
October 28, 2015

Center-right opposition leader Mauricio Macri’s outstanding performance in Argentina’s Oct. 25 first round elections was a political earthquake that — regardless of who wins the Nov. 22 runoff vote — will most likely put an end to 12 years of leftist populist rule, and may have a big impact on other South American countries.

Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires, surprised everybody by not only forcing a runoff election against government-backed candidate Daniel Scioli, but also by winning the giant province of Buenos Aires — home to 37 percent of the country’s voters and which had been in the hands of Scioli’s Peronist party for nearly three decades — and most of the country’s biggest provinces.

In addition, Macri and fellow opposition candidate Sergio Massa won enough seats in Congress to end President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s followers having an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies.

Most importantly, by doing much better than most polls had predicted, Macri has the political momentum. He enters the race for the runoff election looking like a winner.

Polls had placed him about 10 points behind the government’s candidate, and many had predicted that Scioli would win the overall election in the first round. Instead, Macri came in a close second, almost tied with Scioli, fueling speculation that he will be able to garner enough votes from defeated opposition candidates to win the second round.

Marci and Scioli’s demeanor on the night of the first round vote said it all. A radiant Macri made what amounted to a victory speech, with a peace-and-love message calling for national reconciliation. “Gracias! Gracias! Gracias!” he kept telling the crowd. Scioli, by contrast, looked like an angry, sour man, warning the nation of dire times if the country were to change course.

Scioli now faces a formidable challenge: If he moves to the center to expand his base, he risks losing the support of Fernández’s leftist populist political machine. If he shifts to the left to secure the government’s political machine, on the other hand, he won’t win many of the moderate votes he needs to expand his base.

To make things worse, relations between the outgoing president and Scioli, which had never been good, got worse after Sunday’s vote. Both sides blame one another for the poor results. Tensions are running high in government circles, government officials concede.

“If the government candidate wants to be president, he will have to stop behaving like a Cristina [Fernández] employee,” said Massa, the No. 3 finisher in first round election.

Massa has not supported either of the final candidates, but is more critical of Scioli than of Macri. Most of Massa’s supporters are tired of the Fernández government’s rampant corruption, mismanagement and authoritarian rule.

A source close to Massa, with access to his campaign’s internal polls, tells me Massa’s supporters are government critics who are likely to vote for Macri “by a bigger than 2 to 1 margin.”

However, this does not mean that an opposition victory is a done deal because many Massa supporters are “Peronists” — followers of the late general Juan Domingo Peron, like Scioli — who could be swayed by a Scioli campaign depicting Macri as an allegedly right-wing candidate who would dismantle social programs. That’s a message that could still work with many voters in Argentina, the Massa campaign source said.

Scioli’s strategy in a planned debate with Macri will be to focus on ideology, seeking to demonize his rival and present him as the candidate of the rich. Macri’s strategy, in turn, will be to focus on the government’s record of corruption, mismanagement, abuse of power and economic downturn, and to depict Scioli as a government peon.

My opinion: Argentina’s election is coming down to a choice between continuity and change, and — in a country with zero economic growth — Macri’s message of change may have the most appeal. Scioli could still win, but only if he changes course and distances himself from the government. Either way, this looks like the end of the leftist populist cycle in Argentina.

3. MAURICIO MACRI VOWS TO END ARGENTINA’S ISOLATION (Financial Times)
By Benedict Mander in Buenos Aires
October 28, 2015

Mauricio Macri vows to end Argentina’s long debt stand-off and drop capital controls on his first day as president, a prospect that is a real possibility after his strong showing in presidential elections on Sunday.

Investors cheered the stunning performance of the centre-right mayor of the city of Buenos Aires in Sunday’s first round of polls, buoyed by his pledge to abandon populist policies that have left the country’s economy teetering on the brink of crisis.

“This is a problem of trust. This government has destroyed trust among Argentines and the world,” said Mr Macri in an interview with the Financial Times, referring to fears that removing capital controls could trigger a run on the currency. “We are going to put Argentina back on a path to growth and back into the world.”

Markets have rallied on the prospect of a market-friendly Macri government after the first round left the challenger almost neck and neck with Daniel Scioli, president President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s chosen successor.

The winner of the run-off vote on November 22 will inherit an economy with a ballooning fiscal deficit, inflation of around 20 per cent and international pariah status in global capital markets following Argentina’s 2001 default.

The former president of one of Argentina’s most popular football clubs, Boca Juniors, Mr Macri singled out inflation as one of the most urgent problems, promising to bring it down to single-digits in “a couple of years”. “We can’t continue with this level of inflation,” he said.

Mr Macri also promised to be tough with “holdout” hedge funds demanding full payment on $1.3bn of defaulted bonds. But he said it was important to fix the long-running problem, which is blocking the country’s access to the international capital markets.

“That doesn’t mean that I won’t defend the interests of my country. I will be tough and severe in negotiations, but I don’t want to have a conflict, especially when there is no need to have one,” he said.

This is a problem of trust. This government has destroyed trust between Argentines and the world
– Mauricio Macri

Mr Macri stressed the importance of strengthening the rule of law and ensuring a regulatory framework that would stimulate investment, especially in infrastructure. He also accused the Fernandez government of cheating in official statistics as he promised to restore the credibility and independence of institutions, including the statistics agency and the central bank.

First, though, the 56-year-old son of a powerful Italian-born construction magnate needs to defeat the government-backed Mr Scioli in the second round vote next month that will bring an end to 12 years of populist rule by Ms Fernández and her late husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner.

Mr Scioli, who is the governor of the populous province of Buenos Aires that surrounds the city, won the most votes, with 36.9 per cent compared to Mr Macri’s 34.3 per cent. But Mr Macri argues that voters for the other four candidates — including Sergio Massa, a dissident Peronist, who came third with the support of 21 per cent — will choose him in the run-off.

“Those who didn’t vote for the government are looking for a change, so it is our responsibility now to be clear with them to show them that they can rely on us, and that we want the same things,” said Mr Macri.

Argentina’s economy a poisoned chalice for president’s successor whoever wins election inherits a ballooning fiscal deficit

“We are looking forward to sitting down [with Mr Massa] and finding agreement over policies, that’s the first stage. We want to go step by step,” said Mr Macri, who did not rule out the possibility of offering ministerial positions to Mr Massa, who was briefly Ms Fernández’s cabinet chief, in exchange for his support.

Nevertheless, Mr Macri admits to being surprised by his stunning performance in Sunday’s elections that left pollsters scrambling to explain how their predictions could be so wide of the mark.

“We were sure we were going to make it to the second round, but the results were amazing, amazing,” says Mr Macri. Many expected the Peronists to win outright on Sunday and extend their 70-year domination of Argentine politics.

“The government has been very successful in spreading the idea that they were invincible, that it was their destiny to rule this country forever. But suddenly on Sunday night we all realised that we could [do it]. Yes we can!” Mr Macri said.

After eight years at the helm of “one of the most important cities in the world”, Mr Macri now wants to move on. “We’re very proud of what we have done here with a very good team. We succeeded in putting Buenos Aires back into the world right at a time when Argentina was in conflict with the rest of world,” he said. “Now we are ready to run the country.”

4. SANTANDER SAYS ARGENTINE STOCKS COULD RALLY 30% AHEAD OF RUNOFF (Bloomberg News)
By Carolina Millan
October 28, 2015

* Merval benchmark index rises to highest in more than a year
* Speculation increasing opposition’s Macri could win presidency

The rally in Argentine stocks this week after the better-than-expected performance by the opposition in Sunday’s first-round election may just be the beginning, according to Banco Santander Rio SA.

Argentine stocks could rally an additional 20 to 30 percent over the next three weeks ahead of a Nov. 22 runoff vote if opposition candidate Mauricio Macri consolidates his lead in polls, according to Walter Chiarvesio, an equity analyst at Banco Santander Rio in Buenos Aires.

The Merval extended gains Wednesday to surge the most in the world as investors anticipate a possible victory for the market-friendly Macri over ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli, who has campaigned on continuity with gradual changes. The utilities and banking sectors are the most attractive in the short-term, Chiarvesio said.

“The market is reacting to Macri’s good performance on Sunday and anticipating that Macri will win the election,” Chiarvesio said.

The Merval rose 7 percent to the highest since September 2014 at 3 p.m. in Buenos Aires, led by Banco Macro, which soared 15 percent to the highest price on record. American depositary receipts of Argentine stocks also jumped more than 10 percent in New York trading, led by banks including Macro, Grupo Financiero Galicia SA and BBVA Banco Frances SA.

Macri’s policy proposals include ending capital controls on his first day in office and settling a decade-long dispute with holdout creditors from Argentina’s 2001 default. A Gonzalez y Valladares poll published in Cronista on Tuesday showed Macri with 45.6 percent support for the second round, compared with 41.5 percent for Scioli.

5. MERVAL COULD RALLY 30% AHEAD OF RUNOFF VOTE, CHIARVESIO SAYS (Bloomberg News)
By Carolina Millan
October 28, 2015

* Merval benchmark index rises to highest in more than a year
* Speculation increasing opposition’s Macri could win presidency

The rally in Argentine stocks this week after the better-than-expected performance by the opposition in Sunday’s first-round election may just be the beginning, according to Banco Santander Rio SA analyst Walter Chiarvesio.

Argentine stocks could rally an additional 20 percent to 30 percent over the next three weeks ahead of a Nov. 22 runoff vote if opposition candidate Mauricio Macri consolidates his lead in polls, Chiarvesio said in an interview.

The Merval rose the most in the world Wednesday as investors anticipate a possible victory for Macri over ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli, who has campaigned on continuity with gradual changes. The utilities and banking sectors are the most attractive in the short-term, Chiarvesio said.

“The market is reacting to Macri’s good performance on Sunday and anticipating that Macri may win the election,” Chiarvesio said.

The Merval rose 5.5 percent to the highest since July in Buenos Aires, led by Banco Macro, which soared 13 percent to a record. American depositary receipts of Argentine stocks also jumped more than 10 percent in New York trading, led by banks including Grupo Financiero Galicia SA and BBVA Banco Frances SA.

Macri’s policy proposals include ending capital controls on his first day in office and settling a decade-long dispute with holdout creditors from Argentina’s 2001 default. A Gonzalez y Valladares poll published in Cronista on Tuesday showed Macri with 45.6 percent support for the second round, compared with 41.5 percent for Scioli.

6. MASSA ALLIES LEAN TOWARD OPPOSITION CHALLENGER IN PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF (Reuters News)
By Richard Lough and Maximilian Heath
October 28, 2015

Oct 28 (Reuters) – Ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli’s hunt for swing voters in Argentina’s presidential run-off vote suffered a blow on Wednesday when two of defeated candidate Sergio Massa’s top allies said they would not vote for him.

Jose Manuel De la Sota, the governor of Cordoba province and a senior figure in Massa’s alliance, said the leftist government of outgoing leader Cristina Fernandez had been “anti-federal and authoritarian” in style. Roberto Lavagna, a former economy minister, said he wanted to see “change”.

As Scioli and his conservative challenger scramble for Massa’s 5 million voters, politicians from Massa’ New Alternative alliance are meeting in a Buenos Aires hotel to draw up a blueprint of policy priorities.

Massa allies on Monday told Reuters that the document would have more in common with pro-business Macri’s campaign platform and would be a tacit “wink” in his direction. Massa, though, may not explicitly back one candidate of the other.
“Kirchnerismo has done no good for the country,” De la Sota told reporters, referring to the name given to the leftist populism of Fernandez and her late husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner. “It has gotten drunk on power.”

Asked if he would vote for Scioli, De la Sota gave a categoric “No”.
Macri’s unexpectedly strong showing in Sunday’s ballot shocked the ruling Front for Victory party which had expected to win the election in the first round, or at least go into the second round with a wide lead.

Fernandez, a fiery leftist who often rails against Western excess, will leave behind a divided nation. She is hailed by the poor for expanding social welfare programs and protecting local industry but loathed by others who blame her for strangling the economy.

Massa’s camp says the policy blueprint will lean heavily on his first-round campaign pledges: fighting inflation, scrapping the income tax for workers and removing hefty taxes on corn and wheat exports.
Scioli promises to maintain Fernandez’s social safety net and talks only of gradual change to her protectionist policies that include trade and capital controls.

Macri promises fast-moving reform to dismantle the controls. Massa had pitched himself as a middle-way candidate.

“Personally I am in the change camp. We need to have a clear understanding what change means. But in any case, it is not a vote for the Front for Victory,” said Lavagna, who had served under Nestor Kirchner before splitting with him. Lavagna was touted to return to the Economy Ministry had Massa won.

7. ARGENTINA’S MASSA TO ELECTION RIVALS: WANT MY VOTERS? HEED MY IDEAS (Reuters News)
By Richard Lough and Maximilian Heath
October 28, 2015

Defeated Argentine presidential hopeful Sergio Massa unveiled key policy demands on Wednesday and said his 5 million supporters would vote in next month’s run-off election based on how the two remaining candidates respond.

Massa, whose plans ranged from cracking down on drug-runners to scrapping income tax for workers, stopped short of endorsing either ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli or his conservative rival Mauricio Macri.

“The stance that the two candidates take vis-a-vis these proposals will define where more than 5 million voters place their support,” he said.

Earlier, Scioli’s hunt for swing voters suffered a blow when two of Massa’s top allies said they would not vote for him.

Macri has the momentum early in the race to the Nov. 22 run-off after his strong showing in Sunday’s ballot defied polls and shocked the ruling Front for Victory party, which had eyed a win in the first round.

Jose Manuel De la Sota, the governor of Cordoba province and a senior figure in Massa’s alliance, said the leftist government of outgoing leader Cristina Fernandez had been “anti-federal and authoritarian” in style. Roberto Lavagna, a former economy minister, said he wanted to see “change”.

“Kirchnerismo has done no good for the country,” De la Sota told reporters, referring to the name given to the leftist populism of Fernandez and her late husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner. “It has gotten drunk on power.”

The policy blueprint leaned heavily on Massa’s first-round campaign pledges and included scrapping the income tax for workers, removing hefty taxes on corn and wheat exports, tackling narco-gangs and stamping out corruption.

“Between change and continuity, change has already won,” Massa said. “Now what we need to construct is intelligent change.”

Massa allies on Monday told Reuters that Macri would find more common ground with the policy priorities than Scioli and that the document would be a tacit “wink” in Macri’s direction.

RELUCTANT KINGMAKER

Although the lawmaker who split with the ruling party in 2013 is in a strong position to influence the outcome of the run-off, he has ducked playing kingmaker.

Doing so could risk the ambitious 43-year-old’s power base. Many of his supporters blame Fernandez for hobbling the economy but view Macri as beholden to big business. Others balk at the prospect of four more years of brazen leftist populism under Scioli.

“He can insinuate, say change is desirable and let voters chose their own path. There is no need for him so split his own force,” said political analyst Federico Thomsen.

Fernandez, a fiery leftist who often rails against Western excess, will leave behind a divided nation. She is hailed by the poor for expanding social welfare programs and protecting local industry but loathed by others who blame her for strangling the economy.

Scioli promises to maintain Fernandez’s social safety net and talks only of gradual change to her protectionist policies that include trade and capital controls.

Macri promises fast-moving reform to dismantle the controls. Massa had pitched himself as a middle-way candidate.

Massa broke from the ruling party in 2013 and is a strong critic of Fernandez. On the campaign trail, however, he also warned Macri could drive the economy into a new crisis by imposing pro-market reforms too abruptly.

“We need to have a clear understanding what change means. But in any case, it is not a vote for the Front for Victory,” said Lavagna, who was touted to return to the Economy Ministry had Massa won.

8. U.S. JUDGE URGES ARGENTINA TO RESUME BOND LITIGATION TALKS (Reuters News)
By Nate Raymond
October 28, 2015

Oct 28 Days after an election sent the Argentine presidential race into a runoff, a U.S. judge on Wednesday urged the South American nation to resume talks to settle bondholder litigation flowing from its $100 billion default in 2002.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in New York made the remarks as creditors suing over defaulted bonds urged him to expand to nearly $8 billion the amount Argentina must pay them to service its restructured debts.

Griesa did not reference Sunday’s election to replace Argentine President Cristina Kirchner Fernandez, whose administration has called the suing creditors “vultures.”

But he noted Argentina previously declined to participate in settlement negotiations and said he assumed “at this late date in this very lengthy litigation that attitude is over with.”

“The way to ultimately resolve this litigation must come through settlement,” Griesa said.

The comments came during the latest hearing litigation by creditors seeking full repayment on Argentine bonds following the country’s 2002 default.

The holdouts spurned Argentina’s 2005 and 2010 debt restructurings, which resulted in 92 percent of its defaulted debt being swapped and investors being paid less than 30 cents on the dollar.

Wednesday’s hearing concerned whether Griesa should order Argentina to pay 530 creditors seeking $6.15 billion when it services its restructured debt.

Those creditors were seeking the same treatment as several hedge funds the country was ordered to pay $1.33 billion plus interest.

That decision, which the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review, pushed Argentina into default again in July 2014 after it refused to honor Griesa’s orders and failed to settle with the holdouts, who with interest are now owed $1.76 billion.

Robert Cohen, a lawyer for Elliott Management’s NML Capital Ltd, a lead holdout, argued on Wednesday that expanding the amount of debt subject to an injunction would be a “plus not a minus” in facilitating a settlement.

Carmine Boccuzzi, Argentina’s lawyer, countered that doing so would complicate settlement talks by expanding the number of holdouts with “veto power” over a deal.

The hearing came after Sunday’s presidential election in Argentina to determine who would succeed Fernandez ended with a strong showing from a pro-business opposition candidate.

A run-off between opposition candidate Mauricio Macri and ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli is scheduled for Nov. 22.

9. ARGENTINE CORN SEEN WINNER FROM POSSIBLE ELECTION UPSET (Reuters News)
By Hugh Bronstein
October 28, 2015

The surprisingly strong showing by Argentina’s opposition presidential candidate last weekend could prompt higher than expected corn exports at a time when U.S. farmers are already nervous about their competitiveness.

Mauricio Macri defied the opinion polls by easily forcing a run-off with ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli. Macri says he would scrap corn and wheat export curbs and eliminate export taxes on both crops while Scioli keeps his platform more vague.

Farmers say Macri’s policies would be a huge incentive for them to switch some soy fields over to corn after years of neglecting crop rotation due to interventionist government policies that have hammered down corn’s profitability.

Macri, a proponent of free markets after eight years of heavy state controls under outgoing President Cristina Fernandez, has the momentum going into the final vote on Nov. 22. But Fernandez-ally Scioli is still very much in the race.

With this season’s wheat already in the ground, Argentine growers are planting soy this month through December while late planting in the main corn belt extends into the early January dog days of the Southern Hemisphere summer.

The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange had forecast 2015/16 corn planting would fall to 2.7 million hectares from 3.4 million in the previous year — a prediction made before Macri’s pundit-defying electoral shocker on Sunday.

“If the political signals are right, we could see the same corn area planted this year that we had last year,” said Martin Fraguio, executive director of the Maizar corn industry chamber.

That would mean an increase in Argentine 2015/16 corn planting of about 25 percent over current estimates, which would add to the country’s exportable surplus.

So far in 2015, Argentina has shipped abroad 12.9 million tonnes of corn, according to official data.

Increased planting could put Argentina in contention with Ukraine, the world’s No. 3 corn exporter. It could also prompt the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reverse course on its Argentina export outlook for 2015/16, which it trimmed by 1 million tonnes earlier this month to 14.5 million.
That would be a headache for U.S. corn farmers already grappling with a strong dollar. The muscular greenback has meant that growers in main rival Brazil, where the country’s currency has weakened by nearly a third this year, can offer lower prices.

The United States and Brazil are the world’s No. 1 and 2 corn exporters, respectively, followed by Ukraine, which ships around 17 million tonnes a year, and then Argentina.

Spot U.S. corn exports are currently offered around $180 per tonne FOB at the Gulf Coast, some $10 per tonne FOB above Argentine shipments.

U.S. shipments for spring — when the potential size of the 2015/16 Argentine harvest should be known — are being offered around $182 per tonne. Argentine exports are way below.

“The market is showing us that (export quotas) won’t be disturbing the market next harvest,” Santiago del Solar, who farms thousands of hectares in Buenos Aires province, said in an email.
“$140-143 per tonne is better than $130 we had a few weeks ago for April 2016,” he added.

But Solar also cautioned the area planted with corn this season might be restricted.

“We can expect more late-planted corn area this year, but only up to a point because a lot of us already have inputs and fields already prepared for soybeans,” he said.

Soybeans are exempt from Argentina’s export curbs but carry a hefty 35 percent export tax, which Macri says he wants to cut by 5 percent per year.
NO QUOTAS, BIG PROFITS?

If export quotas are lifted on corn, farmers’ profits could catapult higher for the 2015/16 crop year, according to industry consultancy Agritrend. A farmer who owns his land could make profits of $672 per hectare on corn, up from $350 currently.

Farmers renting land would make $548 per hectare — more than double the $225 with export curbs, the consultancy said. About 60 percent of Argentine farmland is leased.

A Macri win could also spur planting of Argentine wheat, which goes into the ground in June and July.

“We expect Macri will from day one send corn and wheat export taxes to zero. That’s a huge incentive to plant both,” Fraguio said.

Cuts in wheat taxes and quotas could prompt more sales to Brazil, displacing imports of U.S. hard red winter wheat which have been filling the gap. Concerns over that were cited for part of a pullback in HRW wheat futures on Tuesday.

10. ARGENTINA’S KIRCHNER ERA ENDS (The New Yorker)
By Jonathan Blitzer
October 28, 2015

Even before the returns were in on Sunday night, the three candidates in Argentina’s national elections were already making their speeches, and each one, in his way, claimed victory. It wasn’t that the results were ever in dispute, though it did take a curiously long time for them to materialize; rather, the takeaway was, like so many things in Argentina throughout the last eight years, a question of how one chose to read into the results the controversial incumbent President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

The candidate Kirchner endorsed, Daniel Scioli, the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, was the front-runner, with the most to lose. “The governors are with me, the Presidents of the regions are with me, the mayors are with me, and the legislators are with me,” he told the press beforehand. He entered Sunday with an air of inevitability surrounding his candidacy, but if he failed to gain forty-five per cent of the vote, or if his opponents drew within ten per cent of his total, he would have to face a runoff on November 22nd. Almost no one predicted it, but that is exactly what happened. Scioli won Sunday’s election by a very narrow margin—taking slightly more than thirty-six per cent of the vote—and as a result he limps into the second round of voting looking jilted and precarious.

Scioli didn’t do himself any favors on election night. When, about two hours before the results were announced, he began attacking his principal rival, the conservative mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, he seemed to be giving a premature concession speech. Without using the word balotaje, or runoff, he began his campaign for it by rattling off Kirchner’s signal accomplishments (welfare expansion, the nationalization of an oil company), and saying that none of that would have been possible under Macri. “Argentines don’t want to go back to the economic adjustments, devaluations, and indebtedness,” he said, dredging up the catchwords of past conservative administrations. A vote for Macri, he claimed, would return the country to the nineteen-nineties, when corruption and misguided economics led to one of the largest sovereign defaults in history.

For Macri, an unrepentant conservative in a country run by an iconic left-wing populist, the bar was low: he only had to make the contest close for the night to seem to go his way. “What happened today changes the politics of this country,” he declared, on securing just thirty-four per cent of the vote. (The gubernatorial candidates on his ticket also won in the provinces of Buenos Aires and Jujuy, in the country’s north.) He’s since received an unexpected boost from the third-place finisher, Sergio Massa, Kirchner’s disgruntled former Cabinet chief, who had twenty-one per cent of the electorate behind him. Massa and Scioli belong to the same broad-based ideological movement, known as Peronism, but Massa has suggested that he might throw his support to the Macri camp. On Monday, amid speculation about what that could mean for the runoff, Scioli announced that he’d debate Macri on November 15th. With Macri gaining momentum, Scioli will try to reposition himself—not just in terms of his rival but also, crucially, in relation to Kirchner herself.

From the start of the campaign, Scioli has had to walk a fine line where Kirchner is concerned. “Continuity with some change, that’s what people want,” Maria Victoria Murillo, a political scientist at Columbia University, told me. On the one hand, Scioli has portrayed himself as a successor to Kirchner, who, while divisive, enjoys a broad base of support in the middle-class electorate. On the other, he needs to create distance because the economy is bottoming out—G.D.P. is down, inflation has soared, exports have sunk, and unemployment is up—and the public has grown restive. As the journalist Carlos Pagni put it, “the prosperity that always accompanied Kirchnerism has ended.”

Scioli has claimed that he’s for “gradualism” and moderation, at once an exponent of continuity and change. A case in point is his posture on a group of creditors who have taken Argentina to court over the repayment of old bonds in default. The hedge funds which these investors represent are known as “vultures,” for buying up distressed debt and suing for the full value of the assets. Kirchner has been sparring with them for years, refusing to pay them the more than a hundred billion dollars they claim is due and turning the battle into a populist cause célèbre. While global commodity prices were high, Kirchner could afford to be shut out of capital markets—part of the collateral damage of her hard line on the issue—but the circumstances have changed; it’s likely her successor will have to strike some sort a deal. Scioli, for his part, has sounded as bellicose as Kirchner when asked about the vultures in public. But off the record his advisers have said the candidate understands he’ll have to negotiate. “Kirchnerism is over,” one Scioli adviser reportedly said. “Soon enough, they’ll realize.”

One of the ironies of Scioli’s situation is that he’s always had a fraught relationship with Kirchner. Some of the bad blood goes back to the administration of her late husband and predecessor, Nestor. Scioli was Nestor Kirchner’s running mate in 2003, a holdover from some of the deals Kirchner had to cut in order to round up support for his Presidential bid. Once in office, he seemed to resent Scioli, whom he kept close but never really trusted. Each time Scioli veered from the Kirchner line—say, on a tax measure or some minor matter of policy—he was publicly brought to heel. “What followed were years of petty snubs and various humiliations,” Gabriel Pasquini, the author, with Graciela Mochkofsky, of a book on Kirchner, told me. Scioli endured the situation until the Kirchners nominated him for the governorship of the province of Buenos Aires, in 2007. On the surface it was a prestigious post, since forty per cent of the country lives in the province, but historically it’s been double-edged for seekers of higher office. “There’s a dictum of sorts that the governor of Buenos Aires province will never become president,” Pasquini said. Rather than a proving ground, the province, because of its size and the scope and complexity of its problems, tends to mire its leaders in controversy and overexposure.

Then there’s the question of Cristina Kirchner’s endorsement, which was only ever half-hearted. Earlier this month, at a joint campaign stop, Cristina Kirchner said, “I ask all Argentines to get beyond all the antipathies we have and to think about what we’ve done over these years. There has to be continuity.” Some interpreted the word “antipathies” as a reference to Scioli, whom she seemed willing to accept but not embrace for the sake of her legacy. Others claimed she was speaking more generally about the “antipathies” wrought by her back-to-back administrations. Whatever the case, Kirchner loyalists have been less ambiguous about their misgivings with Scioli. Last week, the leader of one influential group of Kirchnerist intellectuals said he’d be voting for Scioli but only with a “long face.“ Needless to say, this poses problems for a candidate pitching himself as Kirchner’s anointed successor. “Will the President even let herself be summoned in the form of her candidate?” Carlos Pagni asked, practically rhetorically, in La Nación.

Scioli’s careering prospects going into next month’s runoff highlight Kirchner’s weaknesses, but not for the reasons that most people think. The conventional wisdom is that if Kirchner’s candidate falters, it signals the end of her own clout. That decline has long been in motion, the result of a dwindling economy and the mere passage of time: after twelve years in power, including two terms in office, she cannot run again for the Presidency until 2019. Some analysts maintain that her objectives going into these elections were Machiavellian from the start: that she intended to hand over the Presidency to a successor who would come into office with a limited mandate with which to face an increasingly intractable economy. This does not seem unlikely after Sunday, and it could conceivably strengthen Kirchner’s hand if she ever wanted to return to office. (And a Macri win, after all, might not be the worst thing for her.) Still, her bastions of support within the Peronist party will have to adjust to life without her, whether or not she plans to run again in four years.

The real mark of Kirchner’s weakness, though, may be that she never really had a proper successor in the first place. It’s hard, even now, to define what Kirchnerism is, exactly. After the past eight years, it looks to be a mélange of populism, elements of genuine progressivism, fierce partisanship, economic nationalism, and political savvy (even if it reads as bluster abroad). Central to a lot of it was the economic boom that funded the policies for which Kirchner is most beloved. And yet these years have been marked by unremittingly severe domestic crises. The battle lines were drawn within months of Kirchner taking office, when she levied a new tax on agricultural exports that prompted national strikes and road blockages; before long, she was embroiled in an ugly and protracted fight with the media conglomerate Clarín. From the start of her first term, there were repeated calls for her resignation, and they never really went away. “People see what they want to see with Kirchner,” Murillo said.

Through it all, there were two people who kept Kirchnerism afloat as a rhetorical armature, political posture, and topsy-turvy set of policies: the Kirchners themselves. Their original plan appeared to be trading off presidential terms to elongate their time in office. Then, in 2010, Nestor Kirchner died of a heart attack, and just like that the equation diminished. The year before, he and his wife had made a pitch for a new leftist coalition, to broaden their base of support, but it never materialized. In 2011 Kirchner handpicked a Vice-President, possibly with an eye toward grooming a successor, but he was almost immediately named in a corruption scandal and spent the rest of their term in the shadows. Settling on Scioli was something of a defeat for Kirchner, since he was the only candidate who could be both nominally loyal to her and could win an election. You’d think a caudillo never has to compromise, but you’d be wrong.

11. AFTER ARGENTINA ELECTION RALLY, FAVOR BANKS, UTILITIES, EXPORTER STOCKS? (Barron’s)
By Dimitra DeFotis
October 28, 2015

Argentina’s first runoff presidential election won’t come for another month, but Raymond James analysts are positive on equities despite a runup and outperformance relative to other Latin American assets.

Analysts Federico Rey Marino, Santiago Wesenack and Fernando Suarez wrote on Tuesday:

“Argentine stocks rallied by an average of 12% in U.S.-dollar terms on Monday 26, on the back of Sunday’s presidential election results. Stocks in banks and utilities were the best performers, after gaining 15% and 13%, respectively. FPV candidate Daniel Scioli, and Cambiemos candidate, Mauricio Macri, will now compete in a presidential run-off for the first time ever on November 22. We maintain our constructive medium-term view on Argentine equites, as we believe the next administration will start making progress to put the economy back on track again sooner rather than later. Counting on normalization, we continue to favor banks, utilities, and agro/export-related companies. However, now only trading at an average of 15% below the March highs, after accumulating a 19% increase in the past three trading sessions, we consider additional support for current valuations may rely on further certainties regarding the outcome of the election, and more insight regarding future macro and sectorial policies.”

Indeed, the Global X MSCI Argentina exchange-traded fund (ARGT), which is up 2.4% today, is up 20% just in October. Still, investors should consider that the fund is up only 2.3% this year, while the iShares Latin America 40 ETF (ILF), weighed down by assets in Brazil, is down 24%.

Argentine banks with U.S.-traded shares include Banco Macro (BMA), which is up 7.5% today and up 52% this month, and Grupo Financiero Galicia (GGAL), which is up 4.5% today and up 40% this month. Argentine electricity distributor Empresa Distribuidora y Comercializadora Norte, otherwise known as Edenor (EDN), is up 2% today and up 36% this month.

In energy, oil-and-gas exploration company YPF (YPF) is up 5% today and up 27% this month, while Petrobras Argentina (PZE) is up 4% today, but up only 1.4% this month.

12. OPPOSITION CANDIDATE’S SURGE IN ARGENTINE ELECTION SUGGESTS IMPROVED BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT LIKELY, BUT FRACTURED CONGRESS POSES SIGNIFICANT HEADWINDS (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)
By Paula Diosquez-Rice, Laurence Allan, Carlos Caicedo
28 October 2015

This will be the first time in 27 years that an Argentine election goes into a second round, which will take place on 22 November.

IHS perspective

Significance

The first round of Argentina’s presidential and general elections put government candidate Daniel Scioli, Front for Victoy (Frente para la Victoria: FpV) – 36.8% and opposition candidate Mauricio Macri, Republican Proposal/Let’s Change (Pro/Cambiemos) – 34.33% – nearly neck and neck.

Implications

Pro-business Macri has the momentum, further indicated by the gains his party made in gubernatorial elections in Buenos Aires province and in national congress, but third-place candidate Sergio Massa (21% of the vote) has emerged as kingmaker.

Outlook

An improved business environment is anticipated regardless of whether Scioli or Macri wins the presidency; however, the complicated balances between the president, Congress and the provinces will slow down implementation of policies.

Presidential candidate Sergio Massa talks to the press after voting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, 25 October, 2015PA.24540672
The slim margin of Daniel Scioli’s first-round lead had not been anticipated by pollsters and the main expectation within the government camp was for Scioli to win outright in the first round. Reflecting this, Scioli went as far as naming his cabinet. IHS has consistently assessed that the election would be close and a second round between Scioli and Mauricio Macri would be necessary. Macri’s Republican Proposal (Propuesta Republicana: PRO) and centrist opposition Let’s Change (Cambiemos) electoral coalition also performed strongly in the congressional election and won gubernatorial elections in the key province of Buenos Aires.

Those two factors strongly suggest that Macri has the better momentum going into the second round. However, the potential second-round choices of voters who supported third-place Sergio Massa, with 21.34%, will be critical to the outcome.

Massa crucial for the second round

Sergio Massa is already the subject of an intense campaign of offer and counter-offer between Scioli and Macri, as they seek to get his second round support. Although Massa remains nominally a Peronist and thus from the same political background as Scioli, efforts at finding common ground for an alliance have failed so far. Likewise, aggressive Kirchnerist tactics against Massa, since he performed strongly at mid-term election in 2013, has resulted in Massa hardening his anti-government stance. The vice presidency would be an obvious offer to make to Massa, but that would mean displacing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s favourite, Carlos Zannini, in that role. Sources close to Scioli have admitted that bringing Massa to their side would not be easy. Significantly, Massa has said that if Scioli remains Fernández’ “puppet” he will lose the election.

Personal atmospherics between Macri and Massa appear better. Although a proposed electoral coalition between them was rejected early in the campaign, neither side has attacked the other with the same bitterness that has been evident between Scioli’s campaign team and the other two candidates. Massa has given some hints on where his sympathies lie by noting that he was against “continuity”. However, Macri’s ability to offer attractive political posts to Massa is constrained by the political debts owed to his coalition partners, notably the Radical Civic Union (Unión Cívica Radical: UCR), without whose strong national networks he could not have reached the second round.

A deteriorating macroeconomic situation to prove major challenge for new president

Argentina’s next president will face a challenging macroeconomic environment. The fiscal deficit is expected to reach 6% of GDP in 2015. National accounts data show fiscal spending growing at double digits in real terms, while tax revenue has lagged well behind.

Meanwhile the dispute with the “holdouts” over defaulted debt shows no sign of abating. The latest ruling, by US-based judge Thomas P. Griesa, allowed for another 15 plaintiffs (the so-called “Me too’s”) to sue Argentina, increasing the amount of debt in dispute to USD10 billion. To this adds dwindling foreign-exchange reserves, declining export revenues, and forecast low commodity prices for 2016. This significantly constrains Argentina’s ability to use the central bank reserves to bail out the government as has been the case so far.

Further challenges for the central bank are how to source the US dollars needed to stabilise the peso and meet the private-business demand for hard currency. Sources in the tradeable sector have reported that the central bank is still to authorise USD9-billion requested by importers. Equally challenging for the next government would be how to manage devaluation expectations. The peso remains overvalued; unlike other emerging-market currencies it has devalued by just 11.3% against the dollar this year. This contrasts with the 62% depreciation experienced by the currency of Brazil, Argentina’s main trading partner. Both Macri and Scioli have vowed to address these imbalances, but this is likely to take months rather than weeks. A carefully managed transition process will be required in order to avoid capital flight and runaway inflation.

Outlook and implications

Markets welcome the surge of pro-business Mauricio Macri; bond prices rose on the back of the first round result. That is understandable given Macri’s public statements; he has vowed to lift currency and import controls and let an overvalued peso to find its market value straight away. However, IHS assess that the removal of such controls cannot be done overnight, given low levels of foreign reserves and high levels of inflation. Yet, we assess that the election results so far represent a marked weakening of Kirchnerism, opening the door for an improved business environment in , regardless of who wins. Even under Scioli, who has a good rapport with the private sector, progress towards a more predictable, business friendly environment is anticipated. The downside under a Scioli administration, is his close association with outgoing President Cristina Fernández, who will try to force him to maintain the state interventionist polices that have alienated investors and isolated Argentina. Scioli, as moderate politician is unlikely to heed that; however, he will be forced into complex negotiations with Kirchnerism, which will try at every step to have a say in policymaking.

The makeup of Congress will pose significant headwinds for effective governance. On 25 October, voters also elected a large chunk of National Congress and the governors in 11 of Argentina’s 25 provinces. On the first, the headline was the significant setback suffered by the Front for Victory (Frente para la Victoria: FpV) in congress, which saw its number of seats dwindle to 117, although it still remains the largest single bloc, with different opposition factions having the remainder of the 257 seats in congress. The FpV retains a majority in the Senate. A Scioli government would thus not have an easy ride in the chamber of deputies. A Macri presidency would face an FpV, diminished but still the largest single bloc in the chamber, with the Senate a clear obstacle for him. He will need to build congressional alliances to push through legislation. Although the tendency of minority parties to gravitate towards the government side remains strong, maintaining such alliances will be difficult and unpredictable. Legislative progress for either man as president is therefore going to be extremely difficult, at least until the October 2017 mid-terms. A new president will thus face high barriers to pass parameter-shifting legislation into law and any especially contentious policies – more likely from Macri than Scioli – will become diluted, unless the new president uses his wide discretionary powers. Use of those though could easily spark fierce resistance from other sectors in Congress.

13. THE LONG VIEW: HOW ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL STEPPED BACK FROM A NUCLEAR RACE (Americas Quarterly)
By Matias Spektor
October 28, 2015

The severe tone of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate of September 8, 1982, was worthy of the darkest moments of the Cold War. It warned that if Country A built a nuclear device, “security relationships” in the entire region “would be upset.” Furthermore, it warned Country B “could be prompted to move as quickly as possible to attain a nuclear weapons capability to buttress its own security and sense of national prestige.”

It scarcely seems possible in today’s context, but Country A was Argentina and Country B was Brazil. Indeed, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, South America’s two biggest countries were on the verge of a nuclear race. With a long-standing diplomatic rivalry, they were now bent on developing sensitive nuclear technology, including enriching and reprocessing uranium, and building ballistic missiles.

Making matters worse, military regimes governed both countries at the time, and this work took place with little if any civilian scrutiny. National security doctrines in both countries identifi ed each other as a major potential security threat, with the armed forces having contingency plans in place in the event of war.

Yet, starting in the 1980s, the two countries set out on an ambitious path of nuclear cooperation. In the process, they imposed new restraints on their nuclear programs and rewrote national security doctrines to eliminate the possibility of war. To everyone’s surprise, they also built a mechanism of mutual nuclear inspections that was unprecedented anywhere.

This set the stage for the bilateral relationship of today, which — apart from occasional skirmishes over trade, or on the soccer field — is entirely peaceful. Indeed, South America as a whole is free of interstate conflict, due in part to the two countries’ success in defusing tensions during that era.

How did it all happen?
A Common Threat

Argentina and Brazil began cooperating on nuclear matters in large part because of the policies of President Jimmy Carter’s 1977–1981 government. The White House was trying to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear technology by curtailing third-party exports of sensitive technologies, while also pushing against the human rights violations perpetrated by the military regimes.

Both Buenos Aires and Brasilia saw Carter as a threat to their national “rights” to nuclear technology development. And, crucially, they thought U.S. policies denying them technology were even more threatening than the risks emanating from the other’s nuclear program.

We now know this perception made some sense. After all, at a three-day conference in 2012 to explore this chapter in history, documents reviewed by a group of experts revealed that neither Brazil nor Argentina were anywhere close to developing full-fledged nuclear weapons programs. Foreign intelligence agencies overestimated their achievements. Documents also show that neither country built its nuclear program primarily as a response to a perceived nuclear threat from the other.
Interpersonal Trust

Previously secret documents also indicate that, due in part to the perceived threat from Washington, Argentine and Brazilian officials were able to establish a high degree of empathy and trust at the highest levels. Two episodes in particular stand out because they could have led to a serious deterioration in the relationship, but ended up leading to greater nuclear cooperation instead.

The first was in November 1983, when the Argentine government announced its mastery of the technology to enrich uranium in a pilot-scale lab at the then-secret facility of Pilcaniyeu. The announcement caught Brazilian authorities by surprise, and they doubled down on their effort to develop uranium-enrichment capacity at the Aramar facility — which they achieved in 1987.

Yet, before they went public, Argentine authorities made a point of giving their Brazilian counterparts early warning. The governing junta sent a private letter to Brazil’s military president, João Figueiredo. The gesture was welcomed in Brasilia. Brazilian authorities knew Argentina lacked the industrial capability to enrich uranium, and thereby to develop a nuclear explosive.

A month after the Pilcaniyeu announcement, civilian rule returned to Argentina and Raul Alfonsín became president. Alfonsín understood the risk of Brazil and Argentina becoming ensnared in a nuclear arms race, and recognized that diverting resources to wasteful military competition could wreck his plans for securing Argentina’s democratic transition.

In early 1984, Brazil presented through informal channels a proposal for a joint declaration renouncing nuclear tests. Argentina agreed, and soon afterwards it put forward a proposal to develop a system of bilateral safeguards and mutual inspections.

Still, there was no guarantee yet that tensions would be fully defused. So when civilian rule also returned to Brazil in 1985 and José Sarney became president, the two leaders began working quickly to build trust. When they met for the first time, Alfonsín said he wanted to visit the Itaipú Dam, which for over a decade had been at the heart of a bilateral dispute over the use of international waters in the River Plate Basin. During that same trip, Alfonsín made an additional gesture of trust by inviting Sarney to visit the Argentine nuclear facility at Pilcaniyeu. The new spirit of reciprocity required that Sarney extend the same courtesy to Alfonsín, who visited Aramar in 1986. These symbolic visits filtered down to deeper and more frequent cooperation between scientists and technicians, including visits to each other’s installations.

The second big test of the cooperative relationship came in August 1986, when the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo revealed two major shafts in the Serra do Cachimbo site in northern Brazil. According to the newspaper, the boreholes had been drilled by the air force as testing sites for nuclear explosions.

Argentine officials were taken aback by the leak, and let Brazil know. In Brasilia, the government moved quickly to inform their Argentine counterparts that the boreholes were repositories for nuclear waste similar to ones Argentina had built in Patagonia.

In a recent newspaper interview, Sarney took pride in how the relationship he achieved with Alfonsín helped avert a bigger crisis. “We established a trusting relationship between us,” the former president said. “What we see happening now with immense difficulty with Iran, we did here in South America without international mediation.”
A Concerned U.S. Congressman

It is indeed true that nuclear rapprochement in the Southern Cone did not necessitate foreign mediation. But it would be unfair not to recognize the role of a congressman from the United States.

The first proposal for an Argentine-Brazilian system of mutual nuclear inspections was developed by a U.S. congressman from Illinois, Paul Findley. In 1977, Findley traveled to Buenos Aires and Brasilia to argue that a system of bilateral inspections could help mitigate suspicions in the United States and elsewhere about the countries’ nuclear intentions. A month later, the Findley proposal appeared in The Washington Post.

The Brazilians dismissed Findley’s plan at once. Yet in subsequent years, officials in Buenos Aires came back to it time and again. Alfonsín repeatedly insisted with his Brazilian counterparts that such a mechanism would pave the way for greater stability in South America. Sarney eventually agreed to explore mutual inspections. When he did, Findley did not seek credit.

By the early 1990s, the two countries set up a binational agency to carry out inspections and controls. In 1994, Argentina and Brazil joined the Tlatelolco Treaty that established Latin America and the Caribbean as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. Shortly thereafter, they both joined the Nonproliferation Treaty, definitively establishing themselves as non-nuclear actors — and, above all, peaceful neighbors.

Spektor is an associate professor of international relations at Fundação Getulio Vargas in Brazil and a columnist at Folha de São Paulo, a leading newspaper. He is author of 18 Dias: quando Lula e FHC conquistaram o apoio de Bush (2014), Kissinger e o Brasil (2009) and, more recently, he coedited The Origins of Nuclear Cooperation: a Critical Oral History between Argentina and Brazil (2015) with Nicholas Wheeler and Rodrigo Mallea.

14. ‘DISGUSTING’ AND ‘BITTER’: THE AWFUL BOOZE ARGENTINA CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF (CNN Wire)
By Kamilia Lahrichi
28 October 2015

(CNN) — Think medicine tastes awful?

Maybe Fernet isn’t the drink for you.

To some palates, the incredibly bitter Italian liqour is worse than cough syrup.

Bizarrely though, in Argentina it’s so popular that the country now consumes more than 75% of all Fernet produced globally.

And since the drink is traditionally mixed with Coca-Cola in an ice-filled glass, it also contributes to making Argentina one of the planet’s highest Coke consumers.

People here knock back about four times the global Coca-Cola average.

Fernet and Coke is so popular in Argentina that the country now hosts the only Fernet production facility outside Milan — the Fratelli Branca distillery on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

There, even marketing manager Heman Mutti acknowledges that the drink possesses a medicinal air.

“Fernet was initially sold in Italian pharmacies” as a digestive aid, he says.

The drink reached Argentinian shores in the late 19th century along with European migrants and soon became one of the country’s cultural mainstays, along with tango, barbecue, mate and dulce de leche.

Testament to its importance to the Argentinian way of life, in 2014 Fernet was added to a price-freeze program to protect it from skyrocketing inflation.

Rhubarb and roots

Fernet owes its unconventional taste to a top secret recipe that involves about 40 different herbs including saffron, rhubarb, cardamom, myrrh, chamomile, aloe and gentian root.

Juan Chico, manager of BARTOK bar and restaurant in the upscale Palermo neighborhood in Buenos Aires, says Fernet is the most widely consumed liquor in the restaurant.

Although the bar displays an array of spirit and wine bottles, Chico sells on average 70 glasses of Fernet a day.

He claims that the central Argentine city of Cordoba alone consumes more Fernet than all of Italy, largely due to its strong Italian heritage.

That’s often a surprise to Italian visitors, some of whom struggle to comprehend its popularity.

“It had been two years since I’d seen anyone drink Fernet in Italy,” says Italian nightclub promoter Giovanni Digliardi, who did a double take the first time he stepped into an Argentine bar and was immediately offered a “Fernecola” — Fernet mixed with Coke.

Digliardi, who moved to Buenos Aires in 2008, recalls his grandfather drinking Fernet as a digestif with a glass of hot water.

He’s still baffled by the fact that Argentinians pair the beverage with food at dinners and social events.

“To be honest, Fernet isn’t a proper drink like caipirinha or pisco sour,” he says.

‘A bitter kiss that makes your eyes close in disgust’

Despite it’s popularity, for many Argentinians, Fernet is an acquired taste.

When psychologist Florencia Martinez, a native of Gualeguaychu in Argentina’s Entre Rios province, first sipped it, the verdict was straightforward: she poured it away in horror.

“Totally disgusting,” she confesses, letting out a “bleargh” and lowering her eyebrows, still outraged by the memory.

After that she wouldn’t “get her nose close to a bottle of Fernet for many years,” preferring gin and tonic.

Time passed and disgust faded.

She started swallowing the liquor toward the end of nights with friends because she liked “the refreshing and sweet taste of Coke.”

“And this was the road of no return,” she says, laughing. “It became my liquor of choice.”

It’s a familiar story among Fernet aficionados.

Typically, the initial tasting is a hostile experience, but the drink eventually wins over its audience.

“We met here for the first time, the womanizer Fernet I had heard so much about,” romanticizes Yasmin Simeonova, an architect from Macedonia working in Buenos Aires.

“Trying it out was like a kiss, a bitter kiss that burns your tongue and makes your eyes close in disgust.”

Herb freshness

Simeonova says at first she questioned the sanity of those who championed the drink.

That changed.

“After three years in Buenos Aires, I now have a very strong and passionate relationship with Fernet,” she says.

“I love it and it loves me. We’re having fun times until early mornings, in plastic glasses, half-cut bottles of Coke, wandering in streets, below bridges and across borders.”

Drinking Fernet from a plastic Coke bottle is known as “viajero” (meaning “traveler” in Spanish).

At night, especially during weekends, youngsters and older people alike roam the streets with their containers of mixed drinks.

Fernet also seems to win over experienced sweet-toothed drinkers.

“I’m a product of the U.S. university system, meaning I spent the better part of four years of my life drinking nauseatingly sweet grain alcohol mixed with Kool-Aid,” says Emily Sarah, managing partner of a financial advice company in Buenos Aires.

“Needless to say, Fernet’s herby freshness was a pleasant surprise and lacked the negative associations with the unpleasant consequences of sweet drinks,” she says.

According to its makers, Fernet’s recipe has remained unchanged for 170 years.

Whatever Argentina’s drinkers are suffering from, clearly this “disgusting” Italian medicine is the cure.

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CRISTINA K. PUDO POSTULARSE A GOBERNAR BUENOS AIRES

29 octubre, 2015

Como la Presidenta nació en Tolosa, Provincia de Buenos Aires, pudo postularse para gobernar Buenos Aires merced a su clásico 54% de votos, y así ayudar al candidato presidencial del Frente para la Victoria (Scioli o cualquier u otro que ella hubiese elegido). Y, si se sentía cansada, pudo pedir licencia para descansar Gobernadora , o esperar al día siguiente de asumir y renunciar, para ser reemplazada por su vice gobernador ¿ Aníbal Fernandez?.
Cabe suponer que prefirió no arriesgarse a perder, intuyendo que el Frente para la Victoria perdiera la presidencia y la gobernación de Baires. Es decir, que advirtió su fracaso, y consideró mejor retirarse como Presidenta invicta y dejar el fracaso en manos de subalternos. Quizás demostró que no necesita fueros judiciales, pues la Justicia jamas decidirá que ha delinquido.
Pero entiendo en algo se ha equivocado, al menos patrimonialmente, porque en teoría la Presidenta ha influido y decidido cosas equivocadas, tipo permitir que el Banco Central se endeude en forma innecesaria para financiar proyectos inflacionarios o sospechosos. Y como eso viola la independencia del Central, existe responsabilidad no solo de parte del Banco, sus presidentes y directores, sino también de la Presidenta. Aunque la Constitución – art. 100, inciso 1° dice que corresponde al Jefe de Gabinete “Ejercer la administración del país”. (¿Esto implicaría que Cristina personalmente no ha administrado durante sus 8 años de mandato? incluso si los funcionarios que eligió actuaron con irresponsabilidad manifiesta? Ella pudo haberlos apartado del cargo y reemplazado por otros que respetaran la Constitución y la autonomía del Banco Central, pero pareciera no quiso hacerlo.
¿Es posible calcular el monto que pudo haberse desadministrado durante los 8 años de Cristina Presidenta? Temo resulte tarea inútil, jamas se investiga en serio los desastres de los presidentes que juraron cumplir con su cargo y que la Patria se los demande. Una vez se investigó a Perón cuando fue expulsado en 1955, pero cuando volvió 17 años mas tarde, el Congreso Nacional lo indemnizó y le devolvió sus bienes e incluso sus haberes no percibidos como presidente y teniente general del Ejercito Argentino.
Es Argentina un país mal administrado, donde los posteriores gobernantes se hacen los distraídos y saben que si no investigan a sus antecesores, luego no serán investigados. Algo parecido a la forma que se dice existió en México, cuando un Presidente elegía a su sucesor, y este no lo investigaba para no ser investigado al dejar el poder.
Afortunadamente, Sergio Massa exige que la riqueza mal habida de los ex funcionarios deberá ser recuperada, y esto señala un cambio importante respecto a la honestidad presidencial. De hoy en mas, los gobernantes deberán ser honestos, ya que los congresistas convertirán en imprescriptibles los delitos contra el patrimonio estatal cometido por altos funcionarios públicos tipo Presidentes, Gobernadores y eventualmente, Intendentes.

ARGENTINE UPDATE – Oct 28, 2015

29 octubre, 2015

BsAs — NYTimes Report on 36 Hours on the Town.. Video.. ENJOY

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/travel/what-to-do-in-36-hours-in-buenos-aires.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_tl_20151009&nl=travel-dispatch&nl_art=1&nlid=36165839&ref=headline&te=1

1. ARGENTINA WENT TO THE POLLS ON SUNDAY. HERE ARE 7 INSIGHTS FROM THOSE ELECTIONS (The Washington Post)

2. ARGENTINA: NO. 3 FINISHER HINTS AT BACKING MACRI IN RUNOFF (The Washington Post)

3. CAN ARGENTINA’S NEXT PRESIDENT ESCAPE KIRCHNERISMO? (Bloomberg View)

4. AS ARGENTINA’S ELECTION GOES TO RUNOFF, ALL EYES TURN TO LOSER (Bloomberg News)

5. ARGENTINA SAYS INSURERS’ DOLLAR ASSETS CAN’T EXCEED LIABILITIES (Bloomberg News)

6. ARGENTINA SELLS LESS NOTES IN AUCTION EVEN AFTER RATE RISE (Bloomberg News)

7. ARGENTINA TIGHTENS DOLLAR RESTRICTIONS AS PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF LOOMS (Reuters News)

8. ARGENTINA PRESIDENTIAL CHALLENGER MACRI SEEKS COMMON GROUND WITH MASSA (Reuters News)

9. SPOTLIGHT: ARGENTINE CANDIDATES’ ECONOMIC PLANS (Business News Americas)

10. ARGENTINA DATA: OIL, GAS OUTPUT ROSE IN AUGUST YEAR ON YEAR: GOVERNMENT (Platts Commodity
News)

11. AN ARGENTINE CARTOONIST’S FORAY INTO THE NEW YORKER (The New York Times)

13. ARGENTINA AND THE CLOSING OF THE CYCLE (Open Democracy)

14. ARGENTINA’S RUNOFF TO BE DETERMINED BY A PENALTY SHOOT-OUT (Open Democracy)

15. A ‘GOLAZO’ IN ARGENTINA (American Thinker Blog)

16. ARGENTINA ELECTIONS COULD BENEFIT HOLDOUT HEDGE FUNDS (ValueWalk)

1. ARGENTINA WENT TO THE POLLS ON SUNDAY. HERE ARE 7 INSIGHTS FROM THOSE ELECTIONS (The Washington Post)
By Mark P. Jones
October 27, 2015

On Dec. 11, for the first time in 4,582 days, Argentines will awaken with a president who is not a Kirchner. Neither Néstor Kirchner (2003-07) nor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015) will be running the show in the Pink House (Argentina’s White House).

Elections were held Sunday for president, half of the Chamber of Deputies, one-third of the Senate, and thousands of provincial and municipal level posts, including 11 governors.

In the marquee presidential contest, six candidates who had been successful in the Aug. 9 primaries competed. The candidate of President Fernández’s Front for Victory (FPV) alliance was Province of Buenos Aires governor Daniel Scioli, while the candidate of the centrist We Can Change (WCC) alliance was City of Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri. The third principal contender was national deputy Sergio Massa of the United for a New Alternative (UNA) alliance.

Both Scioli and Massa belong to Argentina’s large Peronist movement, with Scioli aligned with the movement’s pro-Kirchner wing and Massa the leading figure in its anti-Kirchner wing. Three minor candidates also were on the ballot: Margarita Stolbizer (Progressives, center-left), Nicolás del Caño (Left Front, far-left), and Adolfo Rodríguez Saá (Federal Commitment, anti-Kirchner Peronist).

1. A Nov. 22 runoff will select the next president

In Argentina, a presidential candidate can obtain a first-round victory either by winning more than 45 percent of the valid vote or by winning between 40 and 45 percent and simultaneously besting the first runner-up by at least 10 percent.

Neither of those happened. Scioli, the pro-Kirchner candidate, was the plurality winner with 36.9 percent — but failed to reach that 40 percent threshold. Close behind was the opposition’s Macri, who garnered 34.3 percent. Massa finished third with 21.3 percent. The three remaining candidates were all in the low single digits.

2. The Peronist movement is alive and well — and won three-fifths of the presidential vote.

The election showed that Argentina’s large and diverse Peronist movement remains popular and vital. Three of the six presidential candidates were Peronists: Scioli, Massa and Rodríguez Saá. Together, they received 60 percent of the valid vote, on par with the 62 percent average won by Peronist presidential candidates in the three most recent (2003, 2007, 2011) elections.

3. Kirchner’s FPV won a majority in the Senate and a near-majority in the Chamber.

All 24 provinces voted for half of their seats in the Chamber of Deputies. One-third of the provinces voted for all three of their senators.

In the preliminary tally, the FPV and its allies won 61 of the 130 Chamber seats and 14 of the 24 Senate seats that were in play. Combine those with the seats occupied by the FPV or FPV allies among the 127 deputies and 48 senators who were not up for election this round, and the FPV and its allies will control three-fifths of the Senate seats and a little less than half of the Chamber.

The opposition party We Can Change and its allies won 47 seats in the Chamber and nine in the Senate. When added to the deputies and senators whose seats were not up for renewal this cycle, We Can Change and its allies will on December 10 control slightly more than one-third of the Chamber’s seats and about one-quarter of the Senate.

UNA and its allies gained 16 deputies and one senator. Come Dec. 10, the alliance’s members will occupy one out of 10 spots in the Chamber. If Macri wins on Nov. 22, the UNA delegation could be pivotal in determining whether the speaker of the Argentine Chamber will be a member of Macri’s We Can Change or of the FPV.

4. The province of Buenos Aires will have a governor who isn’t a Peronist.

Two out of every five Argentines live in the province of Buenos Aires. For the first time since the return to democracy in 1983, the Province of Buenos Aires elected a non-Peronist governor, We Can Change’s María Eugenia Vidal.

Voters really disapproved of Vidal’s FPV rival, Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández, viewed by many as authoritarian, corrupt and with alleged ties to drug traffickers. Anibal Fernández’s presence on the FPV ballot probably cut Scioli’s national share of the vote by a couple of points. Vidal won 39.5 percent to Anibal Fernández’s 35.2 percent, with UNA’s Felipe Solá in third, with 19.2 percent.

5. The second-place Macri might make an alliance with Massa to improve his chances of winning the presidency.

While UNA’s Macri has some very good reasons to celebrate his success in forcing the FPV’s Scioli into a runoff, he is still confronted by two facts.

First, Scioli is closer than Macri to the popular majority needed to triumph on Nov. 22.

Second, between now and Nov. 22, the Scioli campaign and its supporters will inundate Argentines with dire warnings about a Macri presidency. They will ask Argentines to recall the devastating economic, political and social crisis of 2001 that saw President Fernando de la Rúa (1999-2001) of the UCR (Radical Civic Union) resign.

The Scioli camp will then further remind voters that De la Rúa assumed office amid growing economic and fiscal problems, was the leader of a diverse and untested opposition alliance, lacked a congressional majority, faced a league of primarily Peronist governors, and was not a Peronist himself — all five of which would apply to a ‘President Macri’ as well.

And they will attempt to paint Macri as a neo-liberal who wants to return Argentina to the now relatively unpopular Washington Consensus-driven policies of the 1990s, particularly those policies associated with the privatization of state-owned companies, fiscal austerity and trade liberalization.

If We Can Change’s Macri were to ally with UNA’s Massa, it would help him in two related ways: in closing the vote gap between now and Nov. 22, and in partially ameliorating swing voters’ fears about all those potential problems. In Argentine lexicon, Massa would be the ‘Peronist leg’ offering needed strength and stability to a Macri presidency.

Without an explicit alliance and Massa’s endorsement, a majority of Massa supporters will probably back Scioli in the runoff. Some would do so for reasons of affinity or self-interested strategic behavior. Others would because they are risk averse and fear a potential repeat of 2001.

6. The world’s second-longest-serving federal executive was re-elected.

In the northern province of Formosa, Gildo Insfrán was re-elected to his sixth consecutive four-year term with 73.3 percent of the vote (with 98.3 percent of precincts reporting). Among all sub-national executives in the world’s federal democracies, Insfrán is the second longest consecutively serving state/provincial governor/premier, bested only by Lower Austria governor Erwin Pröll.

7. The Kirchners aren’t gone yet.

The Patagonian province of Santa Cruz is the Kirchner clan’s home. Before becoming president, Néstor Kirchner was Santa Cruz’s governor from 1991 to 2003 and Cristina Fernández represented Santa Cruz in both houses of congress.

Santa Cruz governor Daniel Peralta (2007-15) rebelled against President Fernández during this past term. To retake control of their turf, Cristina Fernández had her sister-in-law, Minister of Social Development Alicia Kirchner, run for governor.

The only problem was that Peralta insisted on running for re-election. If both Kirchner and Peralta ran, they would split the Peronist vote and potentially open the door (under the province’s existing simple plurality electoral formula) to a victory by the province’s most popular opposition figure, the UCR’s Eduardo Costa.

President Fernández’s solution was, with the assistance of her loyal supporters in the Santa Cruz legislature and Peralta’s acquiescence, to bring back the double-simultaneous vote (DSV), which was in vogue during the 1990s but had been eliminated for gubernatorial elections. Under the DSV, the votes of candidates running under the same banner are pooled together to determine the election’s winner.

In Santa Cruz, bitter rivals Alicia Kirchner and Daniel Peralta were the gubernatorial candidates of the Santa Cruzan Front for Victory (FPV-SC). Eduardo Costa and Osvaldo Pérez both ran for the anti-Kirchner Union to Live Better (UVM). While Costa (41.0 percent) won a higher percentage of the vote than either Kirchner (34.8 percent) or Peralta (16.8 percent), the combined FPV-SC vote (51.6 percent) was greater than that of the UVM (45.8 percent). Three left wing parties with solo candidates won 2.6 percent (all with 96.7 percent of precincts reporting).

Since Kirchner was the plurality winner within the FPV-SC, which in turn was the plurality winner among the alliances/parties, she becomes governor on Dec. 10.

Mark P. Jones is the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy’s Political Science Fellow at Rice University.

2. ARGENTINA: NO. 3 FINISHER HINTS AT BACKING MACRI IN RUNOFF (The Washington Post)
October 27, 2015

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The third-place finisher in Argentina’s presidential election hinted Tuesday that he will support opposition candidate Mauricio Macri in the runoff vote.

Sergio Massa got 21 percent of the votes in Sunday’s election, turning him into a key player in the Nov. 22 runoff. Macri got 34 percent, while governing party candidate Daniel Scioli garnered 37 percent of the vote.

Both Macri and Scioli are courting Argentines who voted for Massa. On Tuesday, Massa said that “people voted against continuity.” That suggested he was closer to the changes being promised by Macri.

Massa said he would release his position Wednesday through a policy proposal manifesto, though it was uncertain if he planned to go a step further and make an endorsement.

It was also not clear how many supporters Massa might sway now that he is out of the race.

Many of his backers are, like Massa and Scioli, adherents of Peronism, a divided movement aligned with the working class founded by the late three-time president Juan Peron.

Macri shook up Sunday’s vote with surprisingly strong numbers. Polls had projected that Scioli would win the election by around 10 points.

Scioli, the governor of the Buenos Aires province, had been viewed as an easy front-runner thanks to the support of President Cristina Fernandez.

Since the tight vote Sunday, Scioli has intensified his warnings to Argentines that Macri would undo popular state programs.

Still, many in the country of 41 million have grown frustrated with high inflation, strict currency controls and allegations of corruption within Fernandez’s inner circle.

Macri, the Buenos Aires mayor, has branded himself as the overhaul candidate who will put Argentina’s economy back on track by lifting currency controls and attracting foreign investment. He also says he will reach a deal with creditors in the U.S. whose long-running court fight with the government has made it difficult for Argentina to borrow on international credit markets.

3. CAN ARGENTINA’S NEXT PRESIDENT ESCAPE KIRCHNERISMO? (Bloomberg View)
By Mac Margolis
October 27, 2015

The results of Argentina’s presidential election were still rolling in Sunday night when opposition candidate Mauricio Macri raised his hands through a cloud of confetti. “What happened today shows that the politics of this country have already changed,” said the Buenos Aires mayor, whose strong second-place finish surprised pollsters and pundits, and was a sharp rebuke to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. “Kirchnerismo,” he said, referring to the outgoing leader’s erratic brand of rule, “is history.”

Not quite yet. Macri must still win a Nov. 22 runoff against Fernandez’s chosen successor, governor of Buenos Aires province Daniel Scioli. Still, the fact that Macri earned enough of the vote to force a runoff — and that Fernandez’s Victory Front alliance lost both its congressional majority and the key race for Buenos Aires governor — suggests that after 12 years under one of the hemisphere’s most caustic political dynasties, Argentines are anxious for something new.

Whether they’ll get it is another question. What’s important is not the name of Argentina’s next president, but whether Fernandez’s exit will mean the end of Kirchnerismo — a vertiginous blend of ultra-nationalism, economic dirigisme and populist promises flung from the balcony, with which not even Scioli wishes to be fully associated.

On the Kirchner family’s watch, Argentina went from a recovering emerging market to an international pariah. After taking office in 2003, Nestor Kirchner set the tone, blasting big business and stiffing creditors. When Fernandez took over in 2007, instead of conciliating, she doubled down on her husband’s quarrels, adding big agriculture to the foes.

Shaken, but unbowed, by Nestor’s death in 2010, Fernandez clashed with farmers again, nationalized foreign companies, bullied critical journalists and invoked a contentious law to push for the break-up of media group Grupo Clarin. When the country’s fortunes plunged, she turned on enemies, at home and abroad. Honors to “debt vultures,” holdout creditors who refused to swallow severe write-downs on their loans, have tied Argentina up in international courts for the last decade.

Aggressive social spending may have helped offset Kirchnerismo’s abrasiveness. With a lift from the global commodities bonanza, Argentina’s economy grew an average of almost 8 percent a year between 2003 and 2012. Fernandez poured that windfall into lavish consumer subsidies and wage increases, in a spending drive that continued even as the economy began to tank in 2014.

Whichever candidate takes office on Dec. 10 will have to deal with an economy tumbling into recession, 25 percent inflation, a spiking public deficit and hard currency reserves down to a nine-year low. Almost 29 percent of Argentines lived in poverty last year, up from 25 percent in 2011, according to a study by the Catholic University of Argentina.

It’s therefore no surprise that all the top contenders in Sunday’s election took care to distance themselves to varying degrees from Kirchnerismo’s profligacy. That includes Scioli, who signaled that he would rein in spending and sit down with the litigious bond holders.

The country could use some parsimony. Unsustainable spending and bottomless subsidies became the norm under the Kirchners: An estimated 12 million consumers pay just 35 pesos a month for electricity — the price of a double espresso with milk — said Scioli’s top economic adviser, Miguel Bein.

People also didn’t truly know how badly the economy was faring, given that fudging statistics was a regular practice. Macri spent much of his campaign focusing on how to rescue the national statistics bureau, Indec, where inaccurate inflation and growth data earned the Fernandez government a rebuke by the International Monetary Fund.

Still, getting Argentines to accept that the days of generous social spending may need to be numbered won’t be easy. A recent poll found that although half of Argentines disapproved of Fernandez’s government, 35 percent favored “change with continuity” and another 27 percent wanted more of the same.

Such is the challenge facing Argentina’s next leader, caught between economic emergency and populist temptation. Macri may be the best bet the country has had in years to change the Kirchnerist script. But first he must convince voters that he will end the costly stalemate with creditors, and that promising Argentines benefits the country can’t afford is no way to return to solvency and growth — it’s just talk from a balcony.

4. AS ARGENTINA’S ELECTION GOES TO RUNOFF, ALL EYES TURN TO LOSER (Bloomberg News)
By Charlie Devereux
October 27, 2015

* Sergio Massa, a conservative Peronist, may play king maker
* Can he deliver? Analysts are studying his voters for clues

After Argentina’s presidential election stunned the nation by turning an expected shoo-in into a neck-and-neck contest, the two front-runners are preparing for a bruising four-week campaign. But the candidate attracting most of the attention right now is the one who was eliminated: Sergio Massa.

Massa drew 21 percent of the vote, or 5 million people, and they now have the chance to pick the next president. The question is whom Massa will favor and whether he will — or can — bring his voters with him.

“He can be the arbiter and that gives him a lot of scope for negotiation,” said Lorena Moscovich, a professor in political science at the University of San Andres in Buenos Aires.

Massa is a charismatic 43-year-old lawmaker and former mayor who has made tough-on-crime policies a signature issue. On Wednesday he plans to unveil a policy paper aimed at influencing the Nov. 22 run-off. And while most analysts suspect he will remain studiously uncommitted at least for a while, he’s given some signs of his inclination.

Fernandez’s ‘Employee’
“People don’t want continuity,” he said Tuesday, an unmistakable jab at Daniel Scioli, the top vote-getter who is allied with outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. He has also accused Scioli of being Fernandez’s “employee.” Opposition candidate Mauricio Macri has wasted no time and said he’s in talks with Massa.

What he can offer Massa is unclear, perhaps a leading role in Congress. Moscovich argues that Massa may or may not make a deal with Macri but is unlikely to make an alliance with Scioli. A Macri victory would probably suit Massa since it would position him as the de facto leader of Peronism, the shifting political ideology named after former President Juan Domingo Peron, that has ruled Argentina for decades.

Conversely, aligning himself too closely with Macri would make it difficult for him to later break away and lead the opposition, she said.

Scioli has made his own attempts to woo Massa, saying that, as Peronists, they share priorities and the “typical Massa voter is much further from Macri than from us.”

Market-Friendly
Macri is the more market-friendly, conservative candidate who promises a set of economic shifts that worry the lower classes who rely on government subsidies.

It is far from clear how much influence Massa has over his own followers.

“He’s very influential, but you have to bear in mind that votes in Argentina don’t belong to the candidates, they belong to the voters,” said Sergio Berensztein, president of a political consulting firm that bears his name.

This is particularly true of Massa, Berensztein said. A relatively new force in Argentine politics, he was the youngest ever cabinet chief under Fernandez, before breaking with her and forming his own dissident Peronist movement.

Sense of Allegiance
Given that his political alliance is only a few years old, his voters are less likely to have a strong sense of allegiance to him and will be less influenced by whom he chooses to back, Berensztein said.

Scioli and Macri may therefore profit more from studying the profile of Massa’s voters. They can be divided into two categories, according to Ernesto Calvo, a professor in government and politics at the University of Maryland.

The first are conservative Peronists opposed to Fernandez’s blend of left-leaning Peronism but aren’t necessarily repulsed by Scioli himself. The second category is comprised of middle-class voters likely either to abstain or vote for Macri.

Calculating the likely votes of Massa followers is therefore complex; they may end up splitting evenly, especially if Scioli turns toward the center over the next weeks of campaigning, according to Calvo. Scioli will likely tread a fine line between retaining the core of voters who support Fernandez and fishing for the Peronists who went with Massa.

Search for Insight
The thirst to understand Massa voters is sufficiently intense that an experiment conducted two weeks ago on Massa supporters is gaining the attention of columnists and political analysts grasping at any straw of insight. In that study, carried out by a Dutch company, 24 Massa backers were shown images of the three candidates followed by video clips while their brain activity was measured.

Marc Rothuizen of Neurensics, said that the Massa voters showed strong emotional attachment to Macri’s message of change.

Scioli is making overtures to Massa voters by warning that a Macri presidency would plunge Argentina into a chaos of currency devaluation and debt crisis such as the one that engulfed the country in 2001.
But he’ll also have to appeal to pro-change conservatives without alienating Fernandez’s followers, said Berensztein. What seems clear is that if he only promises continuity, he’ll lose, he said.

5. ARGENTINA SAYS INSURERS’ DOLLAR ASSETS CAN’T EXCEED LIABILITIES (Bloomberg News)
By Daniel Cancel
October 27, 2015

* Rule change follows new regulations on pension-fund assets
* New regulation could prompt sale of some dollar assets

Argentina’s insurance regulator changed the rules governing the amount of foreign currency holdings the companies can keep, which could prompt the firms to sell assets to meet a year-end deadline.

Insurance companies must adjust their foreign-currency security holdings to match the amount of foreign-currency contracts they have with clients, according to a resolution published Tuesday in the official gazette. The regulator said that both dollar assets and dollar-denominated assets payable in pesos are considered as foreign currency.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government, which leaves office on Dec. 10 after a Nov. 22 run-off election between the ruling party’s Daniel Scioli and the opposition’s Mauricio Macri, has in the past ordered insurance companies to repatriate foreign holdings and forced them to fill a certain portion of investment portfolios with bonds of companies deemed to be productive or dedicated to infrastructure projects. Multi-national firms in Argentina include ACE Ltd., Allianz SE and Zurich Insurance Group AG, according to the regulator’s website.

With the second-round election approaching, the government, which closely controls the official rate of the peso, is keen to keep parallel exchange rates from weakening further. The measure could also increase the number of dollar-denominated assets circulating in the local market and allow government entities to acquire them as central bank reserves sink toward a nine-year low.

Firms must reach 50 percent compliance with the rules by Nov. 3, 75 percent compliance by Nov. 30 and be in full compliance by Dec. 31.

Last month, the securities regulator ordered mutual funds to change the way they value foreign-currency holdings, sparking a rout in dollar-denominated bonds traded in the local market as firms rushed to sell rather than have to book a loss. The measure temporarily strengthened the exchange rate in a financial transactions market known as the blue-chip swap and prompted funds to stop taking on new client money for a brief period.

6. ARGENTINA SELLS LESS NOTES IN AUCTION EVEN AFTER RATE RISE (Bloomberg News)
By Carolina Millan
October 27, 2015

* 3 percentage-point increase represents biggest in 18 months
* Move seeks to tame dollar demand following first-round vote

Argentina’s central bank sold 11.3 billion pesos in weekly notes, 5 percent less than at the previous weekly auction, even after raising interest rates by 3 percentage points Tuesday as the government tries to tame dollar demand ahead of a presidential election runoff.
The central bank on Tuesday raised interest rates by the most in more than 18 months, lifting rates on its fixed-rate notes at its weekly debt auction to 28.93 percent and 29.35 percent, for 91 and 119-day securities, respectively. The bank had first set the weekly guidance late Monday with rates unchanged.

The move comes as the country’s foreign-currency reserves are near a nine-year low and the nation struggles to maintain an overvalued exchange rate. Due to restrictions on purchasing dollars at the official rate, Argentines buy greenbacks on the street for as much as 15.81 pesos per dollar compared to the official spot rate of 9.53. The last time the monetary authority took such a bold move to raise rates was February 2014 on the heels of a 20 percent devaluation when the guidance jumped 9 percentage points.

“This is trying to combat the rise of the dollar by making rates more attractive,” said Leonardo Chialva, a partner at Delphos Investment in Buenos Aires.

The central bank announced later Tuesday that banks must pass on the increase in rates to savers. The bank ordered financial institutions to pay a minimum of 26.3 percent on 30- to 44-day deposits, rising to as much as 29.1 percent for deposits of more than 180 days.

“Peso savings are growing steadily, showing the trust of those who save money in our national currency instead of options in foreign currency,” central bank President Alejandro Vanoli said in a statement.

The measure follows an upset in presidential elections on Sunday where the opposition fared much better than expected and forced a second round on Nov. 22. To tame dollar demand, the government’s options include raising rates or cutting dollars sold to individuals for savings, which would be unpopular and could hurt the ruling party’s electoral chances, according to Puente strategist Alejo Costa.

“There’s a feeling that it’s not going to be enough,” Costa said. “The rate would have to be way higher to contain the difference in the exchange rates now. This measure is a drop in the sea.”

7. ARGENTINA TIGHTENS DOLLAR RESTRICTIONS AS PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF LOOMS (Reuters News)
By Jorge Otaola
27 October 2015

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Argentina on Tuesday halved the daily amount of dollars companies can transfer abroad without authorization, currency traders said, while the country’s insurance regulator put new limits on the amount of hard currency assets insurers can hold.

The moves appeared to stem from the opposition’s success in forcing Sunday’s presidential election to a run-off vote, which could add to pressure on the central bank to shore up the peso currency as net foreign reserves run precariously low.

A central bank spokesman said he was not aware of the new curb on dollar transfers. But four currency market traders said the central bank had called commercial banks with a verbal directive to slash the daily limit on dollars that a single company can transfer outside Argentina to $75,000 without previous authorization.

“It’s a new move that intensifies state controls on the currency. It will have an impact, in particular on importers,” said one of the traders, declining to named because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

It was not clear how long the measure would remain in place.

Argentina’s dollar crunch has its roots in a legal battle with U.S. creditors over unpaid debt stemming back to its 2002 default on $100 billion dollars that left the country all but locked out of global debt markets.

Outgoing President Cristina Fernandez’s government has increasingly had to rely on its reserves to prop up the peso currency, pay for energy imports and meet debt obligations.

In 2011 she imposed capital controls and her leftist government has incrementally turned the screws as reserves run lower.

Argentina’s gross foreign reserves stand at $27.1 billion but economists estimate that net reserves amount to about half that.

In a resolution published in the government gazette, meanwhile, Argentina’s insurance regulator ordered insurers to adjust their foreign currency security holdings to equal the value of foreign currency contracts they hold.

Insurance companies tend to hold dollar-denominated or dollar-linked bonds. By forcing the adjustment, the regulator is requiring them to sell at least some of those bonds and hold pesos instead, putting the dollars back into the system.

Last month, in a similar move, Argentina’s market watchdog ordered mutual funds to value their holdings of dollar-denominated bonds at the inflated official exchange rate, rather than against the so-called “blue-chip” swap rate.

That led to a sell-off in securities, temporarily helping to stabilize the black market rate.

Currency traders on Tuesday quoted the black market rate at 15.800 per dollar compared with the official rate of 9.530.

8. ARGENTINA PRESIDENTIAL CHALLENGER MACRI SEEKS COMMON GROUND WITH MASSA (Reuters News)
By Nicolas Misculin
27 October 2015

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Mauricio Macri, Argentina’s opposition challenger in next month’s presidential run-off vote, said on Tuesday he wanted to find common ground with defeated candidate Sergio Massa and that talks had begun between the two camps.

Massa placed third in Sunday’s first round vote with 21.3 percent of support, and both Macri and ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli will need to court the 43-year-old lawmaker and his voters to win the Nov. 22 second round.

Massa is drawing up a policy blueprint to be discussed with either of his rivals still in the presidential race. On Monday, a Massa camp insider told Reuters that while Massa would not explicitly endorse Macri, the document would be a “wink” in his direction.

Asked if messages were being sent between the two campaign teams, the pro-business Macri told local TV channel Telefe: “Yes, we’re talking. There’s a willingness to agree on policies, a willingness to find common ground.”

Outgoing President Cristina Fernandez’s eight years in power have been deeply divisive. The fiery leftist is loved by the lower-class for expanding social welfare programs and protecting Argentine industry but reviled by others for suffocating the economy.

Scioli, a moderate within the broad Peronist movement that dominates Argentine politics, campaigned on a platform of “gradual change” to Fernandez’s model of leftist populism. Macri promises to quickly dismantle her trade and currency controls.

In the run-up to Sunday, centrist Massa said Scioli stood for a continuation of policies that had stunted economic growth, fueled inflation and drained central bank reserves. But he also said Macri could drive the economy into a new crisis by imposing pro-market policies too quickly.

Since the ballot, Scioli has launched a wave of attacks on Macri, branding his policy platform a throwback to neoliberal policies of the 1990s in the run-up to a devastating 2001-2002 depression.

On Tuesday, as he and Macri scrambled for middle-ground voters, Scioli said he was open to hearing Massa’s proposals.

“I will listen to ideas that are good for Argentina, whoever they come from,” Scioli told TV channel TN.

Massa served as Fernandez’ cabinet chief during her first term in office but broke away from the ruling party in 2013. He has accused Scioli of letting Fernandez dictate his campaign, playing on the fears that Scioli would be a Fernandez puppet.

“The people want change,” Massa told Radio Mitre on Tuesday. “If Scioli doesn’t start taking his own decisions then it’s better he is not president.”

9. SPOTLIGHT: ARGENTINE CANDIDATES’ ECONOMIC PLANS (Business News Americas)
27 October 2015

After Sunday’s big surprise in the Argentine presidential election, when the challenging center-right candidate Mauricio Macri finished only two percentage points behind pro-government favorite Daniel Scioli, triggering a runoff on November 22, a closer look at each candidate’s economic plan is in order.

The two candidates’ plans mostly coincide in their diagnosis of the situation but differ in their proposed solutions. Both candidates agree on proposals for taxes but disagree on how to tackle inflation and on dealing with the bond holdout funds, according to local media outlet Cronista.

So what do they propose?

DANIEL SCIOLI

Exchange rate: Scioli’s plan rules out accelerating the devaluation of the peso.

Foreign reserves: In order to boost rapidly dwindling foreign reserves, Silvina Batakis, who would be finance minister in a Scioli government, thinks it is fundamental to free up capital outflows, and the idea is to issue US$10bn in US-denominated bonds to allow firms to repatriate earnings.

Holdout funds: Instead of negotiating with the holdout funds, Scioli proposes gaining time by issuing debt with multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and in the meantime provide legal authorization for the repatriation of funds held abroad by Argentines – estimated at US$5bn-8bn – in order to boost reserves.

Inflation: This is not a priority for Scioli who aims for a reduction only in the longer term. The central aspect of the plan is to recover economic activity levels.

Taxes: He proposes eliminating taxes on agro exports with the exception of soy and to increase the tax-exempt amount on income for people earning between 25,000 (US$2,600) and 30,000 pesos a month.

Subsidies: Scioli proposes financing the end of agro taxes by reducing badly allocated subsidies, but maintaining those for oil producing provinces.

MAURICIO MACRI

Exchange rate: Macri wants to end foreign exchange restrictions from day one, although his economic team concedes that is impossible without some previous measures. He proposes the devaluation of the peso to take the US dollar closer to 14 pesos, which would be the market value, rather than the official 9.6 pesos.

Holdout funds: He wants to regain access to international debt markets, and Macri’s plan includes an arrangement with the holdout funds with a 30% discount over the debt to be paid with a long-term bond issuance but without a cash disbursement. Access to capital markets would allow Argentina to raise cheaper debt: at a rate of 6%. This solution would cost US$19bn.

Inflation: This would be reduced in a sequential way. “The first step is to clarify the real rate of inflation. Then the president of the central bank and ministers would agree on a way to reduce it to two digits within three years,” said Hernán Lacunza, a member of Macri’s economic team, according to Cronista.

Taxes: Like Scioli, Macri proposes eliminating taxes on agro exports with the exception of soy and to increase the tax-exempt amount on income tax for those earning between 25,000 and 30,000 pesos a month.

Subsidies: Macri proposes gradually eliminating oil subsidies while maintaining subsidies for 2mn lower-income families.

10. ARGENTINA DATA: OIL, GAS OUTPUT ROSE IN AUGUST YEAR ON YEAR: GOVERNMENT (Platts Commodity News)
By Charles Newbery
27 October 2015

Buenos Aires (Platts)–27Oct2015/1036 am EDT/1436 GMT Argentine oil production rose 0.1% in August compared with the year-earlier period, and gas output increased 4.4% over the same period, according to national Energy Secretariat data released Tuesday.

Crude production averaged 529,159 b/d in August, up 0.1% compared with 528,883 b/d in August 2014 and 0.6% lower than 532,187 b/d in July, the department said in a data report that did not specify reasons for the changes.

State-run YPF, which produces nearly 43% of the nation’s crude, led the year-on-year increase by boosting production 1.2% to 224,895 b/d in August compared with 222,269 b/d in the year-earlier month, the report showed.

YPF is helping to offset a national decline since a record 847,000 b/d in 1998 by ramping up the development of maturing fields with enhanced recovery techniques and by developing huge resources in the Vaca Muerta shale play. It is producing an average of 52,000 b/d of oil equivalent from Vaca Muerta, according to the company’s latest numbers released this month. YPF has set a target of increasing crude production by 5% this year compared with 2014, after ramping it up 5.3% in 2014 on the year.

Other leading producers are BP-controlled Pan American Energy, Argentina’s Pluspetrol, China’s Sinopec, Brazil’s Petrobras, Chevron and Argentina’s Tecpetrol.

Meanwhile, gas production rose 4.4% to 119.9 million cu m/d in August, compared with 114.8 million cu m/d in the year-earlier period, and was up 2.2% compared with 117.3 million cu m/d in July, the secretariat said. Of the output in August, YPF produced an average of 35.9 million cu m/d, or a 30% share. Argentina petroleum Oil production (b/d)

11. AN ARGENTINE CARTOONIST’S FORAY INTO THE NEW YORKER (The New York Times)
By Jonathan Wolfe
28 October 2015

The Argentine cartoonist Ricardo Siri, better known by his middle name, Liniers, was flipping through some of his work, which was projected on a screen for a small but rapt audience at the Society of Illustrators in New York a few days ago. When he landed on a comic strip that begins in black and white but explodes into color after a man gets a kiss from a passing woman, sighs erupted from the crowd.

”A lot of my strips make women, mainly, go ‘awww’ ” Liniers said. ”That’s my superpower.”

Over the last few years, Liniers, a big name in cartooning in Latin America, has been attracting fans in the United States — a rarity for a foreign cartoonist. He has drawn three covers for The New Yorker since last year — the most recent one, a spoof on hipsters, depicts a young woman using her partner’s beard as a scarf — and has had two books published in the United States during the past month: ”Written and Drawn by Henrietta” (Toon Books), a children’s book released in English and Spanish; and ”Macanudo #3” (Enchanted Lion), a compilation of his comic strip ”Macanudo,” which has run for 13 years in the newspaper La Nación. (Macanudo is a vintage Argentine word that roughly means ”cool” or ”everything’s fine.”)

”When I started the comic everything was horrible,” Liniers, 41, said in a recent interview at his publisher’s office in SoHo at the start of an East Coast book tour. ”The towers fell here,” he said, ”and in Argentina there was a huge economic tailspin and we had five presidents in a week. So I wanted to create something optimistic as an act of resistance, like a positive revolution.”

In ”Macanudo,” plotlines usually do not extend past the punch line, if one exists at all, and the characters and type of humor can change daily. Penguins, gnomes and an olive named Oliverio are only a handful of the creatures that float in and out of ”Macanudo.”

”I like to surprise,” Liniers said. ”When readers open up the paper, I don’t want them to know what to expect.”

Graphically, the strip’s style was influenced by Art Spiegelman’s ”Maus” and Matt Groening’s ”Life in Hell.” (Liniers himself appears in ”Macanudo” as a white rabbit with features borrowed from art both Mr. Spiegelman and Mr. Groening.) The strip’s humor, Liniers says, was influenced by ”The Far Side,” ”Calvin and Hobbes” and Argentine comics.

He comes out of the vibrant tradition of cartooning in Argentina, where comic art boomed in humor magazines after World War II and is still popular today. The most famous comic strip in Argentina, ”Mafalda” by Joaquín Salvador Lavado, can still be found in kiosks across Latin America (and Europe) more than 40 years after the strip ended.

Though popular, ”Macanudo” is somewhat unusual; its gonzo humor and intent can be elusive. ”At first the papers didn’t want it,” said Angie Erhart Del Campo, Liniers’s wife and the co-founder of La Editorial Común, which publishes his books and those by other graphic artists in Argentina. ”It’s not a comic strip like ‘Peanuts’ or ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ that has all regular characters. A lot of older people still don’t get it. Friends of Ricardo’s parents will come up to me and say, ‘I know he’s famous, but I still don’t get them.’ ”

Part of the first generation that came of age in post-dictatorship Argentina, Liniers grew up in Buenos Aires, where he was sent to an English-language school by his father, a lawyer and an Anglophile. As a young man, Liniers traveled to North America and read American literature and comics in English.

Argentine comics tend to offer biting social commentary or jabs at the political establishment. Juan Sasturain, a writer, humorist and co-host of the television show ”Plop!: Caete de Risa,” about Argentine humor, said that comics have always been a diversion. But since the 1970s, he added, the comics page ”has spoken about the same things as the front page.”

And yet, ”Macanudo” bucks this trend too.

”Liniers,” said Mr. Sasturain, who has collaborated on a book with him, ”has gone way beyond the Argentine tradition. He has adopted graphic culture and he likes contemporary culture, and he’s created a huge world where not even politics or strict sociological points exist.”

Françoise Mouly, art editor at The New Yorker and the founder of Toon Books, first came across Liniers’s work in Paris around six years ago. Ms. Mouly said she thought children’s books would be a natural extension of his frequently intimate style, and she has commissioned two from Liniers for Toon Books: ”The Big Wet Balloon” (2013) and now ”Written and Drawn by Henrietta.” As for ”Macanudo,” Ms. Mouly said it was a coup for a foreign cartoonist to be published in the United States, where ”almost nothing ever gets in” because there is already so much comic art available.

Liniers understands; after more than a decade of cartooning, he is finally publishing books in the United States, fulfilling his dream of working alongside the North American cartoonists he adores.</
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ADIVINAR FUTURO PRESIDENTE

28 octubre, 2015

ARGENTINA SALVAJIZADA

Encuestadores y economistas se ganan la vida pronosticando sobre política, y quien será el próximo Presidente, entre los candidatos que se presentarán en octubre.

Una vez mas, compruebo que en las encuestas el mas serio y efectivo está descartado, a pesar de ser el ex Gobernador mejor de Argentina. Generó un sistema que convirtió en a San Luis en la mejor administrada de las provincias argentinas. Adolfo Rodríguez Saa, en su corto paso por la Presidencia luego de ser forzado a  renunciar el sospechado Presidente Fernando de la Rúa, , en diciembre de 2001, fue expulsado  por políticos que querían abusar del poder con fines inconfesables. Los ¿bandidos? congresistas tuvieron que cambiar la Ley de Acefalía, porque ya estábamos los argentinos convocados a votar a fines de marzo de 2002 para elegir nuevos Presidente y Vice, pero un ardid político tramposo entre alfonsinistas y peronistas fracasados lograron que Duhalde fuese…

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Michetti desafía a Zannini, y promete investigar a Boudou

27 octubre, 2015

http://www.infobae.com/2015/10/27/1765296-gabriela-michetti-pidio-un-debate-carlos-zannini-y-se-comprometio-auditar-la-gestion-boudou

THE ANATOMY OF ANTI-CORRUPTION

27 octubre, 2015

THE ANATOMY OF ANTI-CORRUPTION
Gente
SUE LITTLETON
Para GERMAN PIRAN

Moi et les trois chats joyeux =*>:) devil= =*>:) devil= =*>:) devil=

The Anatomy of Anti-Corruption
By Reva Bhalla
The tradition of abusing political power for personal gain goes back to antiquity, as does the debate over whether corruption is a necessary cultural vice in a country’s development or a cancer that must be obliterated for a society to progress. A topic less covered, however, is what is behind the counter-corruption current.

In the past year or so, a striking number of scandals have been exposed, anti-corruption campaigns launched, probes deepened and leaders toppled over corruption charges. Brazil’s state-run oil giant Petrobras, now the most indebted company in the world, is at the center of the biggest corruption scandal in the country’s history; dozens of business executives and politicians, including the heads of the upper and lower houses of Brazil’s legislature and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, are under investigation. In Mexico, President Enrique Pena Nieto has been heavily scrutinized for granting big contracts to companies that also sold him houses on favorable terms and for abruptly canceling a contract with a Chinese-led consortium for a high-speed rail contract over corruption allegations, as well as after the brazen escape of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from federal prison. In Guatemala, a U.S.-backed anti-corruption investigative committee forced the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina, while in Honduras, another U.S.-led anti-corruption investigation has taken down one of the country’s wealthiest and most politically connected families.

In Zurich, a U.S. and Swiss investigation has brought down on bribery charges the once untouchable Sepp Blatter, who headed FIFA, the global governing body for soccer. Elsewhere in Europe, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta is barely holding onto his seat while standing trial for tax evasion and money laundering. And an already fragile government in neighboring Moldova could fall any day now as mass protests persist over more than $1 billion that suspiciously vanished from the country’s three largest banks.

Further east, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is working every institutional lever he can to neutralize corruption charges against himself, his son and a group of former ministers before he faces off against a vengeful opposition in a second round of elections. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption probe is surging ahead after rounding up the biggest tiger yet, former security czar and former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang and his network of powerful allies. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is facing a series of no-confidence votes following allegations that the state development fund had deposited $700 million in his personal bank account.

Meanwhile, foreign investors and Nigerians alike are waiting for action after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari came to power with the promise of pursuing an aggressive anti-corruption campaign. In a desperate attempt to defuse mass street protests, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign that does away with sectarian-allotted government posts.

The list could go on, but the trend is discernable: Around the globe, and under a variety of circumstances, the momentum to expose and crush corruption appears to be building. Even the most presumably immune members of the political elite in many countries have to watch their backs much more carefully than before.

The question then becomes why. We could assume that the world is collectively cleaning up its act and that international bodies promoting good governance and investigative reporters, aided by social media distribution channels, are having more success in mobilizing the public to demand more from their leaders. But nothing is that simple. Even in the list of cases cited above, there are great differences in each country’s stage of economic growth, internal political climate and geopolitical circumstances.
The Roots of Corruption

A lot of scholarly thinking has been devoted to what drives corruption, what mitigates its corrosive effects and what role (for better or for worse) corruption plays in a country’s economic development. A developmental economic approach would lament the “resource curse” afflicting countries that are overly dependent on extractive industries when large amounts of money taken in by state-owned firms is easily funneled into the pockets of a small political elite. A sociological approach would emphasize the differences between cultures and how they perceive corruption. For example, the West looks down on the tribal tradition of handing out positions to one’s brother or cousin, but there are parts of the world where entrusting one’s business to a stranger would be considered outright reckless.

Geopolitics will tell you that countries that are physically difficult to govern will be more prone to bribery. If a country is internally fragmented by its geographic features, allowing for the development of distinct cultures and sects that need to be brought under some form of central rule, then patronage-building will likely be an ingrained practice of the government and will be difficult, if not impossible, to root out.

Samuel Huntington, a revered political scientist who died in 2008, would stress that the taming of corruption and the rise of political order all comes down to institutions. If institutions are too beholden to the political ego of the day, then a wide gap between the political elite and the civil society will result, leaving ample room for a culture of impunity to develop at the top. From Huntington’s point of view, the style of government (for example, a liberal democracy) is not a prerequisite for effective governance; rather, the degree of government — and thus the strength of its institutions — will chart a country’s path toward growth or decay. Huntington even postulated that corruption could actually compensate for weak rule of law and provide an alternative path to growth when a country becomes bloated with bureaucracy. In other words, corruption will at least get things done in countries where the formal channels of government simply do not work.

A question that has received far less attention is what fuels the anti-corruption engine. What is giving new anti-corruption bodies around the world the space and courage to act now? There is of course no single answer, but a closer examination traces these actions back to declining growth rates, internal political competition and encouragement from larger outside powers seeking their own geopolitical gains.
The Role of Outside Players

In other cases, the agendas of larger outside powers influencing smaller states in their periphery could drive anti-corruption efforts more than economic cycles. In Ukraine, the protesters who withstood the cold in Maidan Square for weeks in hopes of toppling former President Viktor Yanukovich were incensed by his flagrant spending habits, but would they have succeeded in overthrowing their president without support from certain Western intelligence agencies interested in pushing back against Russia in one of the most sensitive points in its periphery? In Moldova, a highly fragile coalition of pro-European parties is facing the ire of protesters (many of whom are Russian-backed) over a major corruption scandal that could topple the government once again and give Moscow an opening in another proxy battleground with the West.

Backing foreign anti-corruption bodies is developing into a handy foreign policy tool for Washington. The United States did not have to build institutions from scratch; it inherited them from the British and then figured out a more equitable system in the end to check and balance political power. This makes it all the easier for Washington to export the argument that institution building is the path to effective governance and economic growth. And if the United States is a leading provider of capital in a time of great economic stress, then U.S. officials towing large delegations of investors have a bit more leverage in trying to shape institutional development in countries of interest.

In Romania, a critical Western ally in the former Soviet periphery known for entrenched corruption, the United States has worked very closely with the country’s intelligence service strengthening the National Anti-Corruption Directorate. Against all odds, this investigative body has succeeded in removing a number of high-level officials and stripping politicians of immunity and is currently trying to unseat a sitting prime minister. From the Western perspective, if Romania is more politically stable and more conducive to foreign investment, it will be more immune to Russian influence and sit more comfortably in the Western camp.

In Central America, the United States has the ability to withhold crucial aid to pressure drug-ridden and corrupt countries to enable anti-corruption investigative bodies. One such entity, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, actually brought down President Otto Perez Molina. The bitter former president is now blaming U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and the “geostrategic” agenda of the U.S. government for pressuring him to extend the mandate of the committee that ultimately brought about his downfall. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has played a particularly significant role in building cases and pursuing corrupt politicians in Latin America, from Honduras to Venezuela. In the name of building more credible institutions and stable governments to limit drug-trafficking and illegal immigration, Washington can increasingly be expected to use anti-corruption measures to shape political evolutions in many of these states.

No simple or single explanations will come from examining the drivers of corruption and the forces that counter the abuse of political power for personal gain. In some cases, anti-corruption initiatives will amount to little more than a political campaign, only to fizzle out within a couple of years. In other cases, corruption is so endemic that political and economic changes will have little impact on a country’s ranking. For several countries, the recent explosion of bribery scandals is the natural product of more than a decade of unprecedented economic growth. And for a country like China, an anti-corruption campaign is both the saving grace of the Party and the potential harbinger of decline. A less familiar but growing trend reveals how countries sitting in the shadow of bigger powers can be pushed and pulled through anti-corruption protests and investigations toward broader geopolitical ends.

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¿FINAL DEL FASCISMO ESTATAL?

27 octubre, 2015

ARGENTINA SALVAJIZADA

 

Los mas famosos finales del fascismo o nazismo se han dado cuando sus víctimas, italianos o alemanes, y obviamente también los japoneses, perdieron la guerra y fueron invadidos por “los BUENOS”, ocupados, y sus instituciones resultaron de allí en mas diferentes porque el destruido fue el Poder Militar, que era el opresor real (versión de los BUENOS, que se impone en la historia).

 

Otros finales famosos algo diferentes, como cuando muere el anciano Dictador, vencido por la edad. Caso del Por la Gracia de Dios y Caudillísimo Franquista. Donde a su esperada  y organizada posteridad fue necesario incorporar a España a una Europa Democrática, junto con Portugal, y no quedó otro remedio que DESARMAR el fascismo franquista y hacer “buena letra” para ser aceptados en ese Club Europeo de Naciones libres de la parte occidental del continente.

 

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ARGENTINE UPDATE – Oct 27, 2015

27 octubre, 2015

BsAs — NYTimes Report on 36 Hours on the Town..

Video.. ENJOY

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/travel/what-to-do-in-36-hours-in-buenos-aires.html?em_pos=medium&emc=edit_tl_20151009&nl=travel-dispatch&nl_art=1&nlid=36165839&ref=headline&te=1

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1. ARGENTINE VOTE SHAKES ASSUMPTIONS ON DEPARTING PRESIDENT’S CLOUT (The New York Times)

2. REVIEW & OUTLOOK (EDITORIAL): ELECTION HOPE IN ARGENTINA (The Wall Street Journal)

3. OPPOSITION MAYOR CHALLENGES POPULISTS’ RULE IN ARGENTINA (The Wall Street Journal)

4. ARGENTINE ELECTION LEADS TO RUNOFF (Los Angeles Times)

5. ARGENTINA ELECTION: KIRCHNERS’ LEGACY AT RISK AS HEIR DANIEL SCIOLI IS FORCED INTO RUNOFF (The
Washington Times)

6. AFTER SURPRISING ELECTION, TOP 2 ARGENTINE CANDIDATES RESET (The Washington Post)

7. ARGENTINE ASSETS RALLY AHEAD OF PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF (Financial Times)

8. INVESTORS BET ON CHANGE IN BUENOS AIRES (Financial Times)

9. ARGENTINE BONDS SIZZLE ON SURPRISE ELECTION RESULT (Financial Times)

10. ARGENTINA’S FIRST ROUND OF VOTING PRODUCES AN UNEXPECTED RESULT (The Economist)

11. ARGENTINA’S MASSA GIVES ‘WINK’ TO MACRI AS RUN-OFF STARTING GUN FIRES (Reuters News)

12. CLOSE ARGENTINA ELECTION SPARKS A RALLY IN STOCKS (Investor’s Business Daily)

13. ARGENTINA ELECTION HEADS TO A RUNOFF AMID NEED FOR OIL INVESTMENT (Platts Commodity News)

14. ARGENTINA’S PROMISING ELECTION (Bloomberg View)

15. ARGENTINE ELECTION PUNCTURES AIR OF INVINCIBILITY OF PERONISM (Bloomberg News)

16 ARGENTINE OPPOSITION SCORES UPSET TO FORCE RUNOFF ELECTION (Bloomberg News)

17. THIS FIRST-TIME POLLSTER WAS ONLY ONE TO CALL ARGENTINE ELECTION (Bloomberg News)

18. ARGENTINE STOCKS SOAR WITH BONDS AS VOTE STOKES WAGERS ON CHANGE (Bloomberg News)

19. ARGENTINE ASSETS UP ON SURPRISE GAINS FOR PRO-BUSINESS CANDIDATE (Reuters News)

20. ARGENTINA BOND IMPASSE WILL BE HIGH ON ELECTION VICTOR’S TO-DO LIST (Reuters News)

21. ARGENTINA THUMBS NOSE AT PRESIDENT, FORCES HER APPOINTED SUCCESSOR INTO RUNOFF (Fox News)

22. SCIOLI TO FACE MACRI IN ARGENTINA’S FIRST PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF ELECTION (Fox News)

23. ARGENTINA STOCKS JUMP AHEAD OF UNPRECEDENTED ELECTION RUNOFF (Barron’s)

24. ARGENTINA: OPPOSITION CHALLENGER MACRI FORCES RUN-OFF IN TIGHT ELECTION (NBC News)

25. WHAT ARGENTINA’S ELECTION MEANS FOR INVESTORS (Forbes)

26. SECOND ROUND COULD BRING SURPRISES IN ARGENTINA (Oxford Analytica)

27. ARGENTINA UPDATE: HISTORIC PRESIDENTIAL RUNOFF EXPECTED AFTER TIGHT FINISH (AS-COA.org)

1. ARGENTINE VOTE SHAKES ASSUMPTIONS ON DEPARTING PRESIDENT’S CLOUT (The New York Times)
By Simon Romero and Jonathan Gilbert
27 October 2015

BUENOS AIRES — With a largely noncombative campaign that stunned Argentina by pushing the presidential race into a tightly contested runoff, Mauricio Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires, also achieved another surprise, driving a wedge into the dominating political movement led by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

In the race to succeed Mrs. Kirchner, both Mr. Macri, who is proposing economic shifts to reduce protectionism, and Daniel Scioli, a former speedboat racer endorsed by the president, scrambled on Monday to reposition their campaigns. Both need voters who opted for other candidates, opening a frenetic new phase in Argentine politics before the runoff election on Nov. 22.

Pollsters had cast Mr. Scioli as the front-runner, but momentum appeared to be shifting to Mr. Macri, especially after a rising star in his party, María Eugenia Vidal, the deputy mayor of Buenos Aires, defeated Aníbal Fernández, Mrs. Kirchner’s cabinet chief, in the governor’s race in Buenos Aires Province.

In obtaining control of the province, a coveted stronghold, Mr. Macri’s party, called Let’s Change, not only defeated one of Mrs. Kirchner’s top supporters. The result was also seen as a referendum on Mr. Scioli, the governor of Buenos Aires Province since 2007.

Political analysts paid particular attention because voting preferences in the province have historically foretold important shifts in Argentine politics.

”The candidate who has best interpreted the moment is Macri,” said Carlos Germano, an independent analyst. ”He needs to keep pointing toward dialogue and harmony,” he said, predicting that Mr. Macri would meet with leaders of the other opposition parties to solicit their support.

Mr. Scioli took 36.9 percent of the vote, compared with 34.3 percent for Mr. Macri in the first round — an unexpectedly slim margin that astounded many Argentines. Mr. Macri ran a largely nonconfrontational campaign in which he obtained high levels of support in Córdoba, Argentina’s second-largest city.

”It utterly surprised me,” Jorge Vargas, 65, who polishes floors for a living in Buenos Aires, said of the results. ”I voted for Scioli because I don’t like Macri’s background. He’s completely bourgeois.”

Still, political analysts lauded Mr. Macri’s attempts to soften his patrician image by trying to appeal to some in Peronism, the ideologically flexible political movement that has held sway in Argentina for decades. Governing Argentina for the last eight years, Mrs. Kirchner repositioned her faction of Peronism to enhance the role of the state in the economy and increase antipoverty spending, while stepping up attacks on critics.

But with his strong showing, attention shifted on Monday to Mr. Macri, 56, who was raised in one of Argentina’s wealthiest families and gained prominence as the president of Boca Juniors, one of Argentina’s most popular soccer clubs. He is running to the right of Mr. Scioli, but he has emphasized that he would seek to maintain some of Mrs. Kirchner’s policies on social spending.

Reacting to the runoff outcome, Agustín Rossi, Mrs. Kirchner’s defense minister, told reporters that the president’s supporters needed to ”be humble” in mobilizing a response to Mr. Macri’s rise. Mr. Rossi conceded that Mr. Macri had run a smooth campaign, highlighted by alluring ”sound bites,” but he said Mr. Macri could end up eroding social welfare benefits.

Mr. Macri entered politics after a harrowing episode in 1991 in which he was kidnapped by police officers and transported to a hiding place inside a coffin. Twelve days later, he was freed after his father, an Italian-born magnate, paid a multimillion-dollar ransom.

His father, Franco Macri, 85, assembled a business empire involved in construction and car manufacturing. Sometimes openly dismissive of his son’s political ambitions, Franco Macri said last year that his son had ”the brain to be president, but not the heart,” explaining that he believed Argentina’s next president had to come from the radical wing of Mrs. Kirchner’s political movement.

As mayor of Buenos Aires, Mr. Macri has remodeled public spaces, including plazas and the riverfront, and built bus lanes along major thoroughfares — achievements welcomed by voters. He has also sought to develop the poor south side of the city by encouraging technology businesses, as well as municipal government offices, to set up in the area.

Both Mr. Macri and Mr. Scioli must attract more voters, especially those who opted for Sergio Massa, a former ally of Mrs. Kirchner who took 21.3 percent of the vote, and those who supported small leftist parties.

After avoiding a debate before the first round of voting, Mr. Scioli said on Monday that he would accept a debate with Mr. Macri, reflecting how the candidate endorsed by Mrs. Kirchner now finds himself on the defensive. Both candidates have avoided the president’s belligerent tone in favor of a more mollifying approach.

In reaction to a potential shift if Mr. Macri’s momentum builds, Argentine stocks surged on Monday. But analysts said such sentiment failed to reflect the possibility of a bruising runoff campaign. Moreover, Mr. Macri recognizes that he must attract supporters of Mr. Scioli, a challenging aim in what remains a highly polarized society.

”For days, Macri has been working on this fissure, probing the Peronists from within,” Carlos Pagni, a political columnist, wrote in the newspaper La Nación.

Some voters were perplexed by the runoff. ”Scioli’s no good; he’s under Cristina’s thumb,” said Mary Dany Correa, 82, a retired civil servant who voted for Mr. Massa. ”Macri’s done good things in the city, but I don’t see him as capable of running the whole country. There are a lot of things to fix.”

But Mr. Macri’s showing uplifted many supporters who want a change after 12 years of Mrs. Kirchner and her predecessor, her late husband, Nestor Kirchner.

Santiago Elizalde, 27, an information technology salesman who voted for Mr. Macri, said that while he was ecstatic that his candidate had upended the race, ”it’s a match he still has to play.”

2. REVIEW & OUTLOOK (EDITORIAL): ELECTION HOPE IN ARGENTINA (The Wall Street Journal)
27 October 2015

Argentina voters are tired of sinking living standards and shrinking freedoms. At least that’s the hopeful reading of Sunday’s presidential election in which more than 60% of voters failed to pull the lever for the candidate backed by President Cristina Kirchner.

Mrs. Kirchner is barred from running for a third four-year term, so her Peronist Front for Victory party backed Buenos Aires province governor Daniel Scioli. He won only 36.5% of the vote while Buenos Aires city mayor Mauricio Macri surprised pollsters with 34.7%. Sergio Massa, a Peronist member of the lower house, finished third with 21%. Mr. Massa hasn’t said who he will back in the Nov. 22 runoff, but he also campaigned on the need for a change.

Argentina is a mess. The Kirchners — Cristina for eight years and her late husband Nestor for four before that — have promoted socialist economics and protectionism. They politicized the judiciary, seized private property and stiffed international creditors. Inflation is running at 25% by private estimates, and capital is fleeing the country. The central bank may run out of reserves by the end of the year. Mr. Macri has said he’ll lift exchange controls while ending the country’s trade and financial isolation.

The clearest sign that more Argentines are coming out of their populist trance was the result in the race for governor in the wealthy province of Buenos Aires, a Kirchner stronghold where one in every four Argentines lives. Peronists have held the province for 28 years. But on Sunday 42-year-old Maria Eugenia Vidal, a member of Mr. Macri’s Cambiemos coalition, handily defeated Mrs. Kirchner’s candidate.

That bodes well for Mr. Macri if the presidential runoff is fair, which is never a sure thing in Peronist Argentina.

3. OPPOSITION MAYOR CHALLENGES POPULISTS’ RULE IN ARGENTINA (The Wall Street Journal)
By Taos Turner and Juan Forero
27 October 2015

BUENOS AIRES — Until Mauricio Macri stunned Argentina’s political establishment on Sunday by triggering a second round of presidential voting, many of his compatriots saw him as a wealthy heir unconnected to the problems of ordinary Argentines.

But as the votes were tallied on Monday, it emerged that the 56-year-old mayor of Buenos Aires had marshaled a far larger percentage of votes than polls had forecast for Sunday’s first round. Now Mr. Macri, the son of an Italian immigrant who grew rich and influential here, will challenge the ruling Peronist movement’s candidate, Daniel Scioli, in a runoff that could truncate the populist party’s plans to extend its 12-year rule.

“The truth is that Macri rules,” said Leon Luna, 37, who as a municipal truck driver is the kind of voter Peronists have wooed for decades.

Polls ahead of Sunday’s vote suggested that Mr. Scioli, a 58-year-old ally of President Cristina Kirchner and the governor of Buenos Aires province, would come close to achieving the result needed to win outright: 40% of the vote and a 10-point lead over Mr. Macri. But by Monday, with 97% of the votes counted, Mr. Macri had 34.3% of the vote, and Mr. Scioli getting just over two points more than that.

Observers say Mr. Macri upended the race by highlighting what his campaign called his efficiency in running this vast city, rather than focusing on his personality. Mr. Scioli, who was vague about how he would govern and didn’t attend a presidential debate, was rejected by 63% of voters.

“Macri has created a party infrastructure with a diverse membership base that tried to get out of the center-right corset,” said Juan Cruz Diaz, managing director of Cefeidas, a risk advisory firm. “He was able to capture the imagination of Argentines this way.”

Many people who voted for Mr. Macri said they believed him to be the best candidate to undertake the overhauls economists say are needed to correct an economy whipsawed by high inflation and fast-depleting foreign-currency reserves.

“Argentina needs change and we’re going to bring change,” Mr. Macri told supporters on Monday morning.

Between now and Nov. 22, Mr. Macri and Mr. Scioli will be vying for the 21% of the vote that went to third-place Sergio Massa, a dissident Peronist now thrust into the role of kingmaker.

Mr. Massa, 43 years old, was once cabinet chief to Mrs. Kirchner but hasn’t said whom he would support. A spokesman said senior members of his coalition would meet this week to discuss a strategy.

A poll conducted a month ago by Consultora Wonder showed that 71% of Mr. Massa’s voters would go for Mr. Macri. A key reason, said Carolina Yellati, the firm’s director, is that Mr. Massa’s supporters generally oppose Mrs. Kirchner’s government.

On Monday, Mr. Scioli, who ran a cautious and civil campaign, came out aggressively, telling prospective voters that Mr. Macri would end the country’s bountiful social programs if elected. “I know very well what we want to care for, what we want to protect,” he told supporters Monday.

Leandro Maturana, a unionized government worker and die-hard Peronist, believes the message. “Macri is a businessman who will take away the subsidies and cut the budget, to make an adjustment against Peronist people,” he said.

Mr. Macri has spent much of his life in the boardroom, moving up in his father’s construction company before becoming an executive at a car manufacturer.

Before becoming mayor of Buenos Aires, he was president of Boca Juniors, a beloved soccer club that plays in a working-class district long home to immigrants.

4. ARGENTINE ELECTION LEADS TO RUNOFF (Los Angeles Times)
By Andres D’Alessandro, Chris Kraul
27 October 2015

The presidential race is surprisingly close as Buenos Aires’ mayor forces next round with ruling party candidate.

In a much-closer first round of presidential voting than expected, the mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, forced a Nov. 22 runoff with Daniel Scioli, the ruling party candidate who has been favored to become Argentina’s next president.

With nearly all votes counted, Scioli, who is governor of Buenos Aires state and a former vice president, tallied 36.9% of the ballots cast. Macri was close behind with 34.3%.

Scioli, the handpicked choice of outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, needed at least 40% and a 10-percentage-point advantage to avoid a second round of voting.

When it became clear he would not win outright, Scioli emerged from his campaign headquarters in Buenos Aires on Sunday night to ask for independent voters’ support.

Macri was euphoric. “What happened today has changed the political history of the country,” he told supporters.

An engineer by training, Macri is a centrist technocrat who has promised to make Argentina function more efficiently by building better public transportation, schools and hospitals. He said he would digitize the bureaucracy and bring down costs.

The two will face off in the first presidential runoff in Argentine history. The third-place finisher, congressman Sergio Massa, who garnered 21.3% of votes, could play kingmaker if he throws his support behind either candidate.

Massa gave no indication of whether he would endorse either candidate, saying only that he would release a document in the coming days with his proposals for the next president.

One reflection of the disappointing results for the president was that Anibal Fernandez, her Cabinet chief and handpicked candidate to replace Scioli as Buenos Aires state governor, lost by 5 percentage points to Macri ally Maria Eugenia Vidal.

The loss marks the first election since 1987 that a Peronist — the name given to followers of late Argentine President Juan Peron and his second wife, Eva Peron — has not won the governorship of the country’s most populous state.

Argentines turned out in big numbers — 79% of the 32 million eligible voters cast ballots — to decide Sunday’s election. The voting was widely seen as a referendum on the presidencies of Fernandez and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner. Between them, they have led Argentina since 2003.

Although many young and lower-middle-class voters favor the president’s support for human rights and a social safety net, others expressed dissatisfaction with a 28% inflation rate and a stagnant economy that last year shrank 2% in terms of the value of total goods and services produced.

Cold but mostly sunny weather nationwide boosted the turnout, election officials said. Many voters cast their ballots early Sunday to return home in time to watch Argentina’s national rugby team lose to Australia in the televised semifinals game of the world championship in London.

Scioli, who ran on the Victory Front ticket, promised to continue the president’s social welfare policies with some changes, including a harder line on rising crime. He also called for economic reforms, including the settling of a decade-old bond default.

“I voted for Scioli because I understand he will maintain the project that Nestor and Cristina began,” 30-year-old graphic designer Emilio Ferreyra said after voting in the capital. “It’s a way of staving off the right wing.”

After voting in Dique Lujan in Buenos Aires state, Scioli had declined to predict an outcome.

The election may mark the end of national power of “Kirchnerismo,” but the family will remain a local force at least. The couple’s son, Maximo, was elected to a national congressional seat for Santa Cruz state, and Nestor Kirchner’s sister, Alicia, was elected Santa Cruz governor.

Though many voters expressed support for Fernandez’s wealth-redistribution programs and prosecution of those implicated in atrocities committed during the 1976-83 dictatorship, it was clear many were tired of her heavy hand in the nation’s economy.

“I voted for Macri because in the last few years the country hasn’t grown economically or socially,” said Karina Cunibertti, 46, an insurance company employee in Buenos Aires. “Macri represents the possibility of change. I hope he wins the runoff and reestablishes the good functioning of the government and brings about real opportunity for all.”

5. ARGENTINA ELECTION: KIRCHNERS’ LEGACY AT RISK AS HEIR DANIEL SCIOLI IS FORCED INTO RUNOFF (The Washington Times)
By Andre F. Radzischewski
27 October 2015

BUENOS AIRES — The stunning virtual tie in Sunday’s presidential election here suggests the populist ruling coalition founded by Cristina Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, may see its long grip on power crumble when the term-limited incumbent leaves the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s White House, on Dec. 10.

Pollsters had widely expected Argentines to hand the presidency to Daniel Scioli, the governor of Buenos Aires province and Ms. Fernandez’s handpicked heir, effectively extending the Kirchners’ 12-year reign. Instead, the unexpectedly strong showing of their longtime nemesis, pro-business Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, has forced a runoff and fueled what one commentator called a “social revolution against Kirchnerism” that could well lead to a long, unheard-of center-right victory in South America.

“These results are a very positive outcome for Macri and a big disappointment for Scioli,” Credit Suisse economist Casey Reckman wrote in a note to clients Monday. Given the way he won the expectations game, Mr. Macri “will likely have stronger momentum going in to the next month of campaigning thanks to yesterday’s outcome.”

Sunday’s result may even reverberate beyond Argentina’s borders as other leftist leaders in the hemisphere, such as Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Venezuela’s President Eduardo Maduro, are increasingly coming under fire and seeing their power threatened for the first time in years.

“People are tired of this kind of populism” often linked to a high level of corruption, said Marcelo Camusso, who heads the political science department at the Catholic University of Argentina.

The most important figure in Argentina’s Nov. 22 runoff, though, may not be Mr. Macri nor Mr. Scioli, but Sergio Massa — Sunday’s third-place finisher — who for now seems to hold the keys to the presidential palace.

Like Mr. Scioli, Mr. Massa forms part of the larger Peronist movement and once served as Cabinet chief early on in Ms. Fernandez’ administration. But the mayor of a Buenos Aires suburb has since turned into a vociferous critic of the incumbent, accusing her of unjust tax policies, widespread corruption and a failure to rein in violent crime and drug traffickers.

Wooing Massa

That mixed political heritage meant that both Mr. Macri and Mr. Scioli on Monday immediately laid claim to the 21 percent of votes Mr. Massa had captured in Sunday’s first round. “I feel that they think the same as us here,” Mr. Macri said about Mr. Massa’s supporters. “He also took a position for change.”

Massa backers were “much farther away from Macri than from us,” Mr. Scioli countered hours later. But for the Fernandez heir, reaching out too far to the Peronist “dissident” would invariably force a break with the Kirchnerist orthodoxy, a dangerous game that cuts into his own base, said Mariano de Vedia, a political commentator for the La Nacion daily.

“Scioli appears very weakened. It is unlikely that he can improve his performance” Mr. de Vedia said. “He faces a dilemma; I do not think he is capable” of breaking with Ms. Fernandez.

The governor himself seemed to acknowledge his conundrum Monday as he tried to shift attention to a proposed televised debate with Mr. Macri, an encounter he had previously ruled out by arguing that his positions were well known. The Buenos Aires mayor almost immediately took his rival up on the challenge, and his Cambiemos (“Let’s Change”) coalition said Mr. Macri had never shied away from such a debate.

Mr. Scioli’s change of heart, meanwhile, came after Vice Mayor Maria Eugenia Vidal, Mr. Macri’s second in command in the capital, was confirmed to have won the gubernatorial election in Buenos Aires to succeed Mr. Scioli — the first non-Peronist governor there since 1987.

“This was a truly historic event [that] will produce an enormous change in Argentine politics,” Mr. Camusso predicted.

Critics had repeatedly accused Ms. Vidal’s challenger, none other than Ms. Fernandez’s Cabinet chief, Anibal Fernandez, of ties to organized crime, and the unpopular hard-liner’s nomination may have been too much even for the president’s backers. Mr. Camusso said the message to Ms. Fernandez was: “We follow you, but we are not going to follow you anywhere.”

Mr. Massa, meanwhile, has so far kept mum on which candidate — if any — he might endorse in the coming runoff.

“In three weeks Argentines will have to choose a new path,” he told the crowd at his election night rally. “We know the role we play. In the next hours we will get together [to announce] what we are going to do.”

But how he aligns his loyalties may depend less on ideology and more on his personal ambitions, said Joaquin Morales Sola, a prominent columnist with La Nacion. Mr. Massa stands to emerge as the unchallenged leader of the Peronist movement if Mr. Scioli — and, by extension, Ms. Fernandez — were to lose in November.

“It is in Massa’s interest that Macri be president,” Mr. Morales Sola said.

“Massa can be an important guide for a disoriented and beaten Peronism,” Mr. Camusso agreed.

Not all of his backers may comply with a likely Massa endorsement, Mr. Morales Sola said. Still, the vast majority of Argentines, who in 2011 reelected Ms. Fernandez with 54 percent of votes, this time preferred opposition candidates. “I don’t know where [Mr. Scioli] is going to get [that] 15 percent he needs to win the runoff,” he said. “To me, he is in a very complicated situation.”

Argentina’s long-suffering investors, meanwhile, seemed delighted with the prospect of a Macri victory. The Argentine Business Association praised the vote and — in thinly veiled criticism of Ms. Fernandez’ autocratic style — called on leaders to “deepen the dialogue between all stakeholders” so as to propel “the social and economic development of our country.”

6. AFTER SURPRISING ELECTION, TOP 2 ARGENTINE CANDIDATES RESET (The Washington Post)
By Peter Prengaman
October 26, 2015

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The top two presidential candidates in Argentina reset their campaigns on Monday after a razor-close election vote forced a runoff and cast doubt on the legacy of President Cristina Fernandez, a polarizing leader who spent heavily on programs for the poor but made enemies with her brash style and failure to solve economic ills.

Sunday’s presidential election shook up the political landscape. Numerous polls in recent months had projected that ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli would win by 10 percent or more.

Scioli, the governor of the Buenos Aires province, had been viewed as an easy front-runner thanks to the support of Fernandez, a charismatic two-term president. Fernandez won admirers for rewriting the South American country’s social contract but also drew sharp criticism for widespread allegations of corruption in her administration and for fights with political opponents and other nations that many Argentines found tiresome.

With 97 percent of polling places reporting Monday, Scioli had 36.9 percent of the vote, while opposition candidate Mauricio Macri had 34.3 percent.

That forces a second round, since to win in the first round a candidate needs 45 percent or 40 percent and a 10-point advantage over the nearest competitor.

“A runoff will be like reshuffling the cards and dealing again,” said Mariel Fornoni, director of consulting firm Management & Fit. “The political landscape will be very different on Nov. 22”

Scioli reminded supporters on Monday that he captured the most votes, and warned that Macri would undo popular state programs.

“Sometimes the word ‘change’ can be attractive in politics,” said Scioli, arguing that the state should continue to have a strong hand in Argentine society.

Scioli also invited Macri to a debate, an about-face after refusing to debate the other five candidates a few weeks ago.

Macri called the vote “transformative,” and promised to convince voters who didn’t choose him on Sunday.

“We will correct the abuses and the fraud of inflation,” Macri said, reiterating one of his common themes.

Many Argentines are worried about high government spending and inflation around 30 percent. Many have also grown tired of a legal fight with creditors in the U.S. that has kept the country out of international credit markets.

Macri presented himself as the man to put Argentina’s economy in order, promising to resolve the debt fight and lift unpopular currency restrictions.

But he also tailored his campaign to the millions who receive some form of government support. He promised to maintain popular programs for the poor and increase spending in some areas.

He even inaugurated a statue of Juan Peron, a three-time former president who founded the ideological movement to which Fernandez adheres.

Scioli, a former boat racer who lost his right arm in an accident, presented himself as the continuation of Fernandez’s policies but who would also fix anything broken.

Both candidates’ decision to straddle the center also led to many questions about what they would really do in office.

“I think this election was an expression of widespread fatigue” with the current government, said Jorge Neimark, an 85-year-old retired lawyer. “Even if Macri didn’t represent any ideology, he does represent a change.”

Over the next month, both candidates will be heavily courting Sergio Massa. The former Fernandez loyalist came in third on Sunday, garnering 21.3 percent of the vote.

On Monday, analysts, pundits and ordinary Argentines were debating theories on why the polls were so far off. A popular mashup video on Twitter showed reality television personality and U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in the board room of his show “The Apprentice.”

With a headline addressed to Argentine pollsters, Trump is seen doing his signature “You are fired!”

7. ARGENTINE ASSETS RALLY AHEAD OF PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF (Financial Times)
By Benedict Mander
October 26, 2015

Argentine assets rallied strongly on Monday after Mauricio Macri, the reformist mayor of Buenos Aires, raised investor hopes that the ruling Peronist party would soon be ousted from power after an unexpectedly strong showing in presidential elections on Sunday.

With an end in sight for 12 years of populist rule by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor Néstor Kirchner, optimism is running high that centre-right Mr Macri could beat Daniel Scioli, the government-backed candidate, in a run-off vote next month.

Polls in the run-up to the vote had shown Ms Fernández’s anointed successor with as much as a 10-point lead over his more market-friendly rival; however Mr Scioli only won 36.9 per cent of the vote, while Mr Macri gained 34.3 per cent, with 97 per cent of votes counted.

Because of Argentina’s unique electoral rules, Mr Scioli needed 45 per cent of the vote, or 40 per cent plus a 10-point lead over Mr Macri, to win outright. The two contestants will now face off in a second vote on November 22.

Mr Macri’s stunning performance has boosted investor hopes that Argentina will break from Peronism, whose dominance of Argentine politics over the last 70 years has coincided with the nation’s downfall from one of the richest in the world to one of Latin America’s most troubled economies.

Prices for Argentina’s dollar bonds due 2017 jumped more than 10 per cent to 111.50 cents on the dollar on Monday. Yields on the bonds plummeted from 7.46 per cent to just under 1 per cent, before rising to 1.83 per cent. Investors also bid up the bonds due 2033 to an eight-year high of 110 cents on the dollar.

Andrew Stanners, an investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, described the result as “a welcome surprise”. “Macri is the candidate who is most keen to get on and reform Argentina’s economy. Those reforms will be pretty painful but it’s encouraging that the country seems to be realising that they are desperately needed by voting for him,” he said.

Mr Macri would move fast to fix serious macroeconomic imbalances, which include a ballooning fiscal deficit financed by the central bank, precariously low foreign exchange reserves and one of the highest inflation rates in the world.

The former president of the Boca Juniors football club has pledged to remove strict capital controls immediately and allow the overvalued peso currency to float freely. He would also tighten fiscal policy by cutting back on costly subsidies and attempt to resolve a long-running creditor dispute that has blocked Argentina’s access to the international capital markets since a $100bn sovereign debt default in 2001.

8. INVESTORS BET ON CHANGE IN BUENOS AIRES (Financial Times)
By Benedict Mander
October 26, 2015

Branded an international financial pariah since what was then the biggest sovereign debt default in history in 2001, investors are optimistic that Argentina will soon come in from the cold.

A stunning performance in presidential elections on Sunday by Mauricio Macri, the centre-right mayor of Buenos Aires who campaigned for change, has raised hopes that he could clinch a victory in a run-off vote on November 22. The prospect of a break from rule by Argentina’s dominant Peronist party sent bond prices soaring on Monday.

“‘Macrinomics’ is now a distinct possibility. This would be a positive for the country,” said Edward Glossop, emerging markets economist at Capital Economics in London. “It’s clear that the tide is turning in Argentina and disillusionment with interventionist and populist policies is growing,” he added.

Markets see whoever wins the run-off vote — Mr Macri is set to face off against the government-backed Daniel Scioli, the moderate Peronist governor of the province of Buenos Aires — as an improvement on the last 12 years of rule by President Cristina Fernández and her late husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner.

But Mr Macri, who some pollsters had predicted would not win enough votes to make it to the second round, has promised to move much faster to fix serious macroeconomic imbalances, which include a ballooning fiscal deficit financed by the central bank, precariously low foreign exchange reserves and one of the highest inflation rates in the world.

“A Scioli victory in the first round would not have been bad, but a Macri victory in the second round would make this an economic normalisation trade, not just an ‘anybody but Cristina’ trade,” says Daniel Freifeld, principal of Callaway Capital Management, an investment firm.

“Equity valuations and yields should converge with regional averages, which will translate into significant gains,” he added.

Mr Macri has pledged to remove strict capital controls immediately and allow the overvalued peso to float freely. The former president of the Boca Juniors football club would also tighten fiscal policy by cutting back on costly subsidies and attempt to resolve a long-running creditor dispute that has blocked Argentina’s access to the international capital markets since its $100bn sovereign debt default.

Meanwhile Mr Scioli has promised to implement more “gradual” reforms, and warns that Mr Macri would represent a return to the neoliberal economic policies of the 1
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