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Argentina Politics

State and politics

Argentina's constitution was adopted in 1853 and has been reformed several times. Argentina is a federal republic made up of 22 states (see Abbreviationfinder), a federal district and the national territory of the Fire of Fire.

Political System of Argentina

GOVERNMENT

The president, who must be Catholic and born in Argentina, is elected for a term of four years in direct elections and can be re-elected once. The president is both head of state and government.

The Congress, consisting of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, has the legislative power. The Chamber of Deputies has 257 members who are elected for a term of four years. The Senate has 72 members, three from each state and the federal district, and the term of office is six years. Half of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and a third of the Senate are elected every two years.

The states are governed by their own governors and legislative assemblies and have a certain autonomy in the judiciary and administration.

The voting obligation formally applies to all citizens between the ages of 18 and 70. From 2013, sixteen-year-olds can also vote, but for them it is not mandatory. At least 30 percent of all members of Congress at national level as well as in state parliaments must be women.

Policy

Argentina's politics have had three main actors since 1945: radicalism, peronismand the military. However, since the defeat of the war against Britain in 1982 and the catastrophic economic policies and violations of human rights of the military governments (1976-83), the military has practically disappeared as a political factor.

The party of radicalism Unión Cívica Radical (UCR) was formed in 1890 and is a reform-friendly liberal party with support from the middle class of Argentina. After the return of democracy in the 1980s, the party approached European social democracy and, under the democratization process, pursued a successful reconciliation policy. However, it was overshadowed by financial problems which meant that the party lost in voter support.

Peronism was born in the 1940s as a support movement for President Juan Perón's worker-friendly and nationalist policies. In 1947, the movement was organized in the Partido Justicialista ('Justice Party'). Peronism has its ideological roots in the inter-war Southern European corporatism and highlights nationalism and social justice. Peronism is a pragmatic movement that brings together groups from widely diverse social groups and political orientations. Beyond ideological rhetoric, the content of politics is adapted to prevailing trends in society. This has caused severe internal conflicts, which in the 1970s degenerated into a bloody settlement between the ruling conservative Falcon and the leftist Montoneros.

In the 1980s, a renewed Peronism (Peronismo renovador) emerged, which wanted to settle with corrupt union leaders and notorious right-wing politicians. During the early 1990s, a liberal policy was led by Carlos Menem, while the pendulum swung to a more left-wing policy under the Kirchner couple's leadership in the 2000s; Néstor Kirchner was president in 2003–07 and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner ruled the country in 2007–15.

In the 2015 presidential election, the Peronist Party's candidate Daniel Scioli (born 1958), former governor of Buenos Aires province, was defeated by the mayor of the capital, Mauricio Macri. He represents the center-right party Propuesta Republicana (PRO) and received 51.5 percent of the votes in the second round. For the first time in 14 years, the country's president did not come from the Peronist Party.

Macri opted for a liberalization of the stagnant economy. He pushed through huge savings packages of reforms that caused popular dissatisfaction but failed to lift the country out of the economic crisis. On the contrary, he was forced to ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a record-breaking emergency loan. Cambienos, the alliance that PRO is a part of, won the 2017 parliamentary elections but two years later Macri was voted out of the presidential post. Conquered the peronist Alberto Fernández, who was running for the alliance of Frente de Todos with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as its vice presidential candidate. He received 48 percent of the vote, that is, over the 45 percent required to win in the first round.

See also History.

Judiciary

Argentina has both federal and provincial courts. The federal judiciary, which deals with issues of national interest, consists of the Supreme Court of Buenos Aires, appellate courts and a number of courts of first instance. Each province also has its own judicial organization and its own procedural provisions. Material law is codified according to continental European models, mainly Spanish and Portuguese, but also influenced by French law. Italian law has exerted influence on criminal and procedural law. The death penalty was abolished in 2008.

Human Rights

The Argentine judiciary has been criticized as ineffective and open to political influence despite several reforms in the 2000s. The indigenous peoples of the country face major obstacles in accessing both cultivation land as well as education, health care and other basic services.

Among the problems in the Argentine judiciary are the occurrence of arbitrary arrests, long waiting for trial, detention and very harsh prison conditions. According to public records, as many as 86 deaths, including 41 violent ones, were recorded in federal prisons between January 2012 and mid-2013. Authorities documented nearly 900 cases of torture or ill-treatment in federal prisons during the same period.

The media landscape in Argentina is polarized with a privately owned media supporting the opposition, and a state media supporting President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's regime. Attacks on journalists are unusual in comparison to other South American countries, but in 2014 the attacks increased. Censorship is also not unusual for sensitive issues. In Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index for 2015, Argentina is 57th out of 180.

Sexual abuse of children and sexual exploitation of children is a widespread problem. By law, the production and distribution of child pornography is punishable, but possession of child pornography for personal use is permitted.

Women's rights have been established through a series of legislation that guarantees, among other things, the right to equal pay for equal work and equality in marriage. Violence against women is, however, a significant problem and abuse that rape is rarely reported due to social stigma or fear of further violence. According to official reports, hundreds of women are murdered annually by their spouses, boyfriends or ex-boyfriends.

Argentina has made significant progress in the 2000s regarding the rights of LGBTQ people. In 2010, as the first country in Latin America, it was legislated to allow gay couples to marry, despite massive demonstrations organized by the strong and influential Catholic Church in the country.

Stabilization of democracy and unstable economic growth (1984–)

The growing discontent paved the way for the peronist Carlos Menem's victory in the 1989 presidential election. Despite his traditional Peronist campaign message, Menem pursued a strict economic policy with, among other things, extensive privatizations aimed at sanitizing the country's economy. Notoriously high inflation was dampened, but at the same time, extensive currency reform led to an overvalued domestic currency and major financial problems with growing foreign debt and low growth. In December 2001, a deep economic and political crisis erupted as savers in panic withdrew their savings, the banking system threatened to collapse, government countermeasures led to protests and unrest and one interim president after the other resigned. As a result of four years of financial turmoil, Néstor Kirchner from the leftist party of the Peronist Party won the 2003 presidential election.

The period 2003–07 was characterized by good growth in the economy and recovery after the economic crisis in 2001. President Kirchner and his government therefore had stable support, despite splits within the Peronist Party and accusations of corruption, violation of power and flatness towards rising inflation. Somewhat surprisingly, Néstor Kirchner did not run for the 2007 presidential election, instead his wife (former Senator for Buenos Aires) Cristina Fernández de Kirchner resigned as a candidate. She won a stable victory in the first round of the elections and took office in December as Argentina's first elected female head of state.

She promised to prioritize the fight against poverty and unemployment and to strengthen regional trade cooperation. One of Kirchner's first measures was to raise export taxes on important agricultural products such as soy, wheat and meat, which created a conflict with the country's farmer organizations.

Despite continued good growth, the country's structural economic problems grew, manifested in the form of high inflation, falling real wages and currency shortages. The Peronist Party also continued to be characterized by internal conflicts, and allegations of abuse of power were directed against the Kirchner family. In October 2010, Néstor Kirchner died in a heart attack and the following year Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was re-elected president, carried by a wave of sympathy. The Peronist Party also won its own majority in both chambers of Congress.

Under Néstor Kirchner's leadership, Argentina had begun to settle its bloody history, and several of the leaders of the military dictatorship were imprisoned for human rights violations. In 2010, the last leader of the military junta, Reynaldo Bignone, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for crimes committed during the dictatorship. Later that year, former dictator Jorge Videla was also sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. He died in prison in 2013. The data on how many people who were killed or disappeared during the military dictatorship 1976-83 are disintegrating. Official figures speak of over 11,000 people killed, while human rights groups claim that there are 30,000.

Despite strong economic growth in the 2010s, the Argentine economy again fell into imbalance with rising inflation as a result. The dissatisfaction with the president and the government's policies led to large demonstrations, strikes and protests. Former allies with Kirchner, as part of the trade union movement, also took part in the protests.

One of the causes of the economic uncertainty is the international demand for repayments of Argentina's national debt from the late 1990s. When the economy collapsed in 2002, Argentina canceled all payments and has since tried to agree with lenders on new terms. Before settling the old debt, Argentina is basically blocked from getting new credit in the international currency market.

The issue of the Falkland Islands in the 2010s was once again a way for the president to mobilize support. After the war in the 1980s, relations with the United Kingdom improved, although Argentina still formally requires possession of the islands. Kirchner began to seek support from mainly other Latin American countries to re-raise the issue on the political agenda and be dealt with by international courts.

In early 2015, Kirchner went through one of his most difficult crises when Prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead the day before he would have testified before a congressional committee. He would then present his conclusions from a lengthy investigation into the bomb attack against a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994. According to Nisman, Argentina and Iran had signed a secret agreement to downplay Iran's role, and he accused President Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timernan of lie behind the settlement.

Nisman, who in 2004 appointed to lead the investigation by former President Néstor Kirchner, claimed that the negotiations between the countries were handled by bullies and that Iran promised oil supplies in exchange for Argentina stopping charges against some of the Iranian agents accused of involvement in the bombing.

The police called it suicide but the suspicions that Nisman was murdered instead immediately took off. Major protests and demonstrations around the country demanded an independent investigation into Nisman's death and his accusations against the government. The president said a few days after the prosecutor's death that it was not a suicide but part of a conspiracy against the government and herself. She accused the country's security services of being part of the plot and announced that she intended to dissolve the existing organization and create a new intelligence service. The opposition was opposed to the proposal, saying it was a way for the government to create a security police loyal to the incumbent president rather than the country's interests, but the proposal was voted on in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. Just over a month after Nisman's death, a judge dismissed all charges against President Fernández de Kirchner and the details of a secret agreement with Iran. However, the suspicions regarding both a secret agreement and the prosecutor being murdered remain alive, and along with the ongoing economic crisis confidence in the president diminished.

Heads of State

Presidents

1826-27 Bernardino Rivadavia
1827-28 Manuel Dorrego
1828-29 Juan Lavalle
1829-32 Juan Manuel de Rosas
1832-35 Juan Ramón Balcarce
1835-52 Juan Manuel de Rosas
1852 Vincente López
1852-60 Justo José de Urquiza
1860-61 Santiago Derqui
1862-68 Bartolomé Miter
1868-74 Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
1874-80 Nicolás Avallaneda
1880-86 Julio Argentino Roca
1886-90 Miguel Juárez Celman
1890-92 Carlos Pellegrini
1892-95 Luis Sáenz Peña
1895-98 José Evaristo Uriburu
1898-1904 Julio Roca
1904-06 Manuel Quintana
1906-10 José Figueroa Alcorta
1910-14 Roque Sáenz Peña
1914-16 Victorino de la Plaza
1916-22 Hipólito Irigoyen
1922-28 Marcelo T. de Alvear
1928-30 Hipólito Irigoyen
1930-32 José Félix Uriburu
1932-38 Augustin Justo
1938-40 Roberto M. Ortiz
1940-43 Ramón S. Castillo
1943 Arturo Rawson
1943-44 Pedro P. Ramírez
1944-46 Edelmiro J. Farrell
1946-55 Juan Perón
1955-58 Pedro Aramburu
1958-62 Arturo Frondizi
1962-63 José María Guido
1963-66 Arturo Illía
1966-70 Juan Carlos Onganía
1970-71 Roberto Marcelo Levingston
1971-73 Alejandro Agustín Lanusse
1973 Héctor J. Cámpora
1973-74 Juan Perón
1974-76 Isabel Perón
1976-81 Jorge Rafael Videla
1981 Roberto Eduardo Viola
1981-82 Leopoldo Galtieri
1982-83 Reynaldo Bignone
1983-89 Raúl Alfonsín
1989-99 Carlos Menem
1999-2001 Fernando de la Rúa
2001 Adolfo Rodríguez Saá (interim)
2002-03 Eduardo Duhalde (interim)
2003-07 Néstor Kirchner
2007-15 Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
2015-19 Mauricio Macri
2019- Alberto Fernandez
Other Countries in South America

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