Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cristina Kirchner President of Argentina

Argentina’s Presidential mansion is called the Pink House, and now that name has new meaning. For the first time in its history, Argentina has elected a female President. Two weeks ago Cristina Fernández de Kirchner won the Argentine elections, gaining about 45 percent of the vote (compared with 23 percent for the closest runner up).

She is commonly called “Cristina” and many compare her to Hillary Clinton- and on more than one level. Her husband, Nestor Kirchner, is the out-going President. Nestor was elected in 2003 and still enjoys strong approval ratings, yet he chose to step aside to let his wife run. Kind of weird, right?

Or perhaps Machiavellian. Argentine law does not set a term limit, but it does stipulate that a President can serve no more than two consecutive terms. Supposedly, The Kirchners plan to heed off the inevitable lame duck years of the second term by handing the Presidency back and forth.

Presently there is no real Argentine opposition (they’re worse than the Democrats in 2004) and, providing the Kirchners can handle this juggling act and their popularity remains high, their power will never diminish.

However, take the Kirchner strategy with a gigantic caveat which more than one Argentine has remarked to me. Predicting what will happen in Argentina in five years is like predicting what will happen in the U.S. in 100 years.

Here’s a decent post election analysis from the Guardian.

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