Argentine President visiting Portugal has little decision-making power

Analysts consider that the Argentine President, who arrives in Lisbon today, is politically weakened, without popular support and without exercising real power in his country, a far cry from Alberto Fernández, who, as a candidate, visited Portugal in 2019.

“The current Alberto Fernández, compared to the one who visited Portugal [in 2019], is an Alberto Fernández who disappointed the expectations of moderation. Today, he practically has no decision-making power of his own,” the political analyst and opinion specialist told Lusa. public Raúl Aragón.

“Alberto Fernández is absolutely conditioned by his vice-president, Cristina Kirchner, who exercises real power and, supported by the lack of political decision and the weakness of the President, imposes her will”, he pointed out.

In September 2019, the then-strengthened candidate Alberto Fernández visited Portugal and met the Prime Minister, António Costa, after a triumph in the primary elections that assured him of victory in the general elections.

The Argentine candidate sought to project an image of a moderate left, different from the radicalized candidate for vice and former President, Cristina Kirchner (2007 and 2015).

“But all that expectation became a great frustration. His role was to limit Cristina Kirchner, but the opposite happened. Alberto Fernández returns today to Portugal as a representative of Cristina Kirchner’s power,” said Aragón.

When he was a candidate, Alberto Fernández said he was going to “review” the EU-Mercosur agreement, closed in June 2019, after 20 years of negotiations. After assuming the presidency in December 2019, he started to support the agreement, but analysts do not know to what extent Argentina is really committed to the free trade agreement.

The matter will be discussed at the meeting with António Costa. Portugal and Argentina exercise the current rotating presidencies of the European Union and Mercosur, respectively.

“Argentine politics, before the agreement, has been very ambiguous. The last episodes in Mercosur reveal a protectionist Alberto Fernández. So, he may now have a speech in favor of the agreement with the European Union, but his record is ambiguous. question is whether Cristina Kirchner agrees with the agreement “, considered political analyst Sergio Berensztein to Lusa.

“António Costa is going to meet with the President of a coalition in which he is not the leader. Alberto Fernández has an important bureaucratic role, but he is not the boss. He will be able to make a decision, but Cristina Kirchner will have the ability to veto”, warned Berensztein.

The polls indicate that, in April 2020, with four months in office, Alberto Fernández had more than 70% approval and today it is only 35%.

According to the consultancy Giacobbe & Asociados, for example, Alberto Fernández’s positive image reached 67.8% a year ago and now stands at 26.9%.

“It is a dizzying process of disillusionment,” said political analyst Jorge Giacobbe, author of the study, to Lusa.

“And that 26.9% of support is not from the President; it is from the vice. They will support Alberto Fernández as long as he is a tool of Cristina Kirchner,” added Giacobbe.

10 days ago, the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, with the support of the President, dismissed the Undersecretary of Energy, Federico Basualdo, for incompetence in complying with the public energy tariff policy.

However, Basualdo, protected by Cristina Kirchner, refused to step down, opening an internal political crisis and showing that economic policy is defined by the vice-president.

“This episode showed that Alberto Fernández does not rule. The fact that an undersecretary refuses to comply with an order from the minister and the president indicates who really has the power”, illustrates Aragón.

Alberto Fernández is not the first Argentine President to arrive politically worn out in Portugal. The last Argentine President on a bilateral visit was Fernando De La Rúa, almost 20 years ago, in November 2001. He was so politically weakened in power that, a month later, he would resign, without being able to take measures to contain the strong social and economic crisis.

“In Argentina, if a President does not exercise power, that power turns against the President. Like that De La Rúa, Alberto Fernández is President, but he does not exercise power”, concludes analyst Raúl Aragón.

Source: with Agencies

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