Ecuador Faces off over Re-election

UPDATED: Ecuador has approved all proposed consultation questions including limitation of reelection to one period.

Vote Results are:

Question 1. 73.1% yes, no 26.29% Elimination from politics because of corruption conviction.
Question 2. 64.21% yes, 35.79% no. Indefinite election reduced to one term.
Question 3. 63.08 yes, 36.92% no. restructure the Citizens Participation and Social Control Council.
Question 4. 73.45% yes. 24.47% Ends prosecution time limits for child sex crimes.
Question 5. 68.62% yes. 31.38% no. Ban on metal mining in protective  areas.
Question 6. 63.62% yes. 36.9% no. Revokes land speculation law known as Plusvalía.
Question 7. 67.32% yes. 32.68% no. Limits petroluem activities in the Yasuni reserve to less acres.

 

By Ronald J. Morgan

Less than a year since Ecuador voted to keep the Alianza Pais in power, voters are being called back to the polls. But this time, it is to decide a number of issues which if passed, will move the country away from the policies of former president Rafael Correa (2007-2017) and his Citizen’s Revolution. 1,2,3

President Lenin Moreno of Alianza Pais won the second round vote, April 2, with 51.16% of the votes against 48.84%  for conservative Guillermo Lasso of the CREO Party Lasso.  But shortly after taking office President Lenin Moreno took offense to the former president and the state of affairs found after his inauguration. 4

See: Lenin Moreno to Continue Ecuador’s Citizens Revolution

With a shortfall in government finances and debt reaching 40% of GDP, Moreno was forced to adopt an austerity budget. Moreno also announced a no-holds barred fight against corruption, which was becoming more obvious. Within months his Vice president, Jorge Glas, was tried and sentenced to six years in prison on charges of receiving bribes from the Brazilian Olderbrecht construction corporation. 5

See: Ecuador’s Moreno Announces Austerity Cuts

Moreno has converted his government into the major opposition force and formed friendly ties with groups on the outs with the Citizens Revolution.  Correa has referred to Moreno as a “traitor”.

Moreno  has called for an end to indefinite reelection: “An indefinite reelection becomes a dictatorship disguised in democracy,” he told the Spanish daily El Pais in an interview.

Moreno also stressed a need for “full independence” for the public prosecutors and the justice system.

The Feb. 4, consultation, which allows voters to decide on the issue of indefinite re-election (The Ecuador General Assembly approved indefinite re-election in 2015), is at the heart of the dispute over whether Rafael Correa was becoming overly powerful and could rule for too many years. Correa has called the consultation a  Coup d’Etat aimed at ending his political career. Correa is still young, at age 54.

Whether the political atmosphere has shifted against Correa will determine the outcome. Recent opinion polls show strong support for the consultation. The firm Cedatos reported 70.6% approval for restricting re-election. But  polls have been innaccurate in Ecuador in the past.

Correa  returned to Ecuador from self-exile in Belgium briefly in November, and then again, in January, to fight the Lenin-turn-to-the-right. Correa has called the current situation an already predicted Conservative Restoration.

See: U.S. Backed Coups from the Streets

Groups backing the Moreno consultation include CREO, Alianza Pais (ProMoreno) Unidad Popular, Union Ecuatoriana, Partido Social Cristiano, Centro Democratico, Izquierda Democratica, Adelate Ecuatoriano, Jusiticia Social, Fuerza Ecuador, Fuerza Compromiso Social, SUMA, Pachakutik, Concertacion, Avanza and Partido Socialista.

Other support has come from the indigenous organization, Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas (Conaie) and the Union Group, Frente Unitario de Trabajadores (FUT).

The fight between the pro-Lenin and pro-Correa forces has resulted in a breaking up of the Alianza Pais party. First Correa supporters attempted to oust Moreno from leadership of the party. But a legal decision declared the president head of the party. As a result, Correa and his supporters have left the party and formed the new Revolucion Ciudadana party. The new party has the support of 28 members in congress. Nevertheless, the National Election Council has refused to allow the registration of the party name saying it is a slogan from another party.  The Partido Alianza Pais breakup has also left the congress without an official majority. 6, 7, 8

In recent months other efforts to discredit the Correa years have sprouted. These include an audit to determine the reasons for Ecuador´s high debt. 9

During the consultation campaign Correa has complained that he has been ignored by the local print press — a group he has fought with in the past. The controversial Ley de Medios law, which restricted press freedoms to some extent, is not up for consideration during the vote.

Sporadic Anti-Correa violence has also occurred at various points during the campaign.

The consultation asks voters to consider on seven questions which would:

  1. Ban those convicted of corruption from politics.
  2. Amend the constitution to restrict reelection to one additional period.
  3. Amend the constitution to restructure the Citizens Participation and Social Control council. (The council investigates, monitors and chooses the Procuraduría General del Estado, Defensoria del Pueblo, Defensoría Pública, Fiscalía General del Estado y Contraloría General del Estado, the members of Consejo Nacional Electoral, Tribunal Contencioso Electoral y Consejo de la Judicatura.) The approval would allow removal of the members of the current council  and appointment of a transitory council to assume the duties of evaluating the performance of the proposed justice sector officials. The nominees would then be elected by the public.
  4. Prohibit proscription of punishment for sexual crimes against children leaving the crimes open to prosecution forever, much as in crimes against humanity.
  5. Prohibit metal mining in all levels in protected areas, intangible zones, and urban centers.
  6. Revoke the Plusvalia law known as the Ley Organica Para Evitar Especulation Sobre el Valor de Tierras. This anti land sepculation law is to be lifted to facilitate construction activity.
  7. Increase the ecological untouchable zone of the Yasuni reserve by 50,000 hectares and reduces the  area of petroleum exploration authorized by the General Assembly in the Parque Nacional Yasuni from 1,300 hectares to 300 hectares. 10

SOURCES:

1. Alta tensión contra Rafael Correa a una semana de la consulta popular de Ecuador https://elpais.com/internacional/2018/01/28/america/1517104003_792762.html?id_externo_rsoc=TW_CC

2. Máxima tensión en Ecuador rumbo a la consulta popular que puede marcar el ocaso de Rafael Correa https://www.infobae.com/america/america-latina/2018/01/28/maxima-tension-en-ecuador-rumbo-a-la-consulta-popular-que-puede-marcar-el-ocaso-de-rafael-correa/

3. Gustavo Larrea: Se está jugando la posibilidad de derrotar en las urnas al proyecto autoritario que encabezó Rafael Correa https://www.eluniverso.com/noticias/2018/01/03/nota/6548296/gustavo-larrea-se-esta-jugando-posibilidad-derrotar-urnas-proyecto?&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=addtoany

4. La disputa entre Correa y Moreno se proyecta en 3 escenarios
http://www.eltelegrafo.com.ec/noticias/politica/1/la-disputa-entre-correa-y-moreno-se-proyecta-en-3-escenarios

5. Ecuador: el vicepresidente Jorge Glas, sentenciado a 6 años de prisión en caso Odebrecht http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-42346644#

6. Correístas dejan oficialismo de Ecuador y forman partido Revolución Ciudadana http://laestrella.com.pa/internacional/america/correistas-dejan-oficialismo-ecuador-forman-partido-revolucion-ciudadana/24043535

7. El CNE niega el pedido de clave al partido Revolución Ciudadana
http://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/cne-niega-pedido-clave-revolucionciudadana.html

8.  Partidos cabildean para tener mayoría en la Asamblea Nacional
http://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/partidos-asamblea-legisladores-mayoria-politica.html

9. ¿Rafael Correa en la mira de organismos judiciales?https://www.telesurtv.net/news/rafael-correa-denuncia-caceria-persecucion-judicial-20180131-0061.html

10.  ¿Sabes cuáles son las siete preguntas de la Consulta Popular y qué dicen? Te lo contamos http://www.elcomercio.com/afull/preguntas-consultapopular-ecuador-explicacion-referendo.html

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Latin America | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Marred Honduras Election Continues 2009 Crisis

UPDATED

OAS General Secretary Luis Alamagro has told CNN  Feb 12 that the organization still does not recognize the results of the recent Honduran presidential elections.

See Sources: note 5

 

By Ronald J. Morgan

Once again, the international community has abandoned Hondurans to their fate. The decision to validate recent Honduran elections leaves the country  in a state lacking sufficient legitimacy for many of the nation’s citizens.

The situation began with the 2009  Coup d’état against Manuel “Mel” Zelaya and erupted again with the questioned Supreme Court decision to allow reelection last year, despite it having been restricted by the 1982 Honduran constitution. A voter consultation over reelection was also at the center of the Zelaya coup.

The reelection issue led to the forming of the Alianza de Opposicion Contra la Dictadura (Alliance of the Opposition against the Dictatorship). The election ticket was lead by  Alejandro Nasralla, 64, of the centrist Partido Anticorrupcion (Anti-corruption Party) PAC. Nasralla is a well-known television personality and a political centrist. The Vice Presidential Candidate was Xiomora Castro de Zelaya, 57, of the Left Partido Libertad y Refundación, LIBRE, (the Freedom and Re-Foundation Party), and wife of former president Zelaya.

See: Election Briefing: Opposition Vows to Defeat Re-election of Honduras President Hernandez

The group had predicted election fraud at the start of the election process. And indeed, the recent election Nov. 26, 2017, has been questioned by one and all only to have first the United States then other foreign countries back down leaving the country in a dangerous unstable state. Nasralla was in the lead initially and then after a vote count slow down Hernandez began to move ahead. The United States waited 21 days before signing off on the elections. The United States has built a close relationship with Hernandez on anti-crime and violence matters. 1,2

The last line of support for those outraged by the alleged vote fraud was the Organization of American States. An OAS report had said that election irregularities and the shut down of an election computer made the election questionable and called for new elections. But on, Jan. 22, the OAS dropped the matter and said it would work with Honduras elected officials in the future. 3,4

Protests over the elections have left at least 40 dead and hundreds arrested. 5,6

The presidential election is reinforcing political divisions in Honduras. The National Party  incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez will be sworn in Jan. 27, 2018

According to the official account Hernandez was reelected with 42.95% of the vote some 1,410,888 votes. The election was a one round winner takes all vote.

Salvador Nasralla of the  Alliance Against the Dictatorship received 41.95% of the total vote, some 1, 360, 442 votes. Luis Orlando Zelaya of the Liberal Party finished third with 14.74% some 484,187.

Hernandez also achieved victory in the 128-member Honduran Congress. The opposition coalition Libre Party scored 60 seats, down 7  to the National Party’s 61 up 13.

In one of congress’s first controversial moves it approved an impunity law which halts investigations into 60 lawmakers suspected of corruption and other illegal actions, according to The Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras ( la Misión de Apoyo contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad en Honduras) known as MACCIH.

Official congressional results as reported by Wikipedia are:

Party Votes % Seats +/–
National Party 61 +13
Liberty and Refoundation 30 –7
Liberal Party 26 –1
Innovation and Unity Party 4 +3
Honduran Patriotic Alliance 4 +4
Democratic Unification Party 1 0
Christian Democratic Party 1 0
Anti-Corruption Party 1 –12
Invalid/blank votes
Total 128 0
Registered voters/turnout
Source: TSE

 

SOURCES:

1. Was There Fraud in Honduras’ Election? https://www.cato.org/blog/was-there-fraud-honduras-election

 2. Dirty Elections in Honduras, With Washington’s Blessing https://jacobinmag.com/2018/01/honduras-election-jaun-orlando-hernandez-nasralla

3. 20 Dems ask Tillerson to support new elections in Honduras  http://www.nydailynews.com/newswires/news/national/20-dems-tillerson-support-new-elections-honduras-article-1.3714171

4. US recognizes re-election of Honduras president despite fraud allegations https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/22/us-recognizes-re-election-of-honduras-president-despite-calls-for-a-new-vote

5. Congress: Stop Funding the Murderous Regime in Honduras!http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/6099/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=25756

 6. Honduras: human rights abuses on the radar of churches and ecumenical organizations http://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/honduras-human-rights-abuses-on-the-radar-of-churches-and-ecumenical-organizations?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

5.Alamagro says OAS is not recognizing the results of the November Presidencial elections. http://cnnespanol.cnn.com/video/luis-almagro-honduras-elecciones-presidenciales-sot-promo-entrevista/

 

 

Posted in Latin America | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peru Enters Period of Crisis

By Ronald J. Morgan

The Christmas Eve pardon of former president and dictator Alberto Fujimori has brought Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski a crisis which is expected to destroy his presidency.

The perception that the decision could not have been anything but a corrupt trade-off for sparing Kuczynski a painful  congressional impeachment is tearing up the foundation of the Peruvian post-dictatorship political system. 1,2,3.4.5

Kuczynski  brought himself to the brink of impeachment by issuing conflicting stories about his relationship with two consulting companies which received money from the Brazilian Olderbrecht corporation. 6.7

On Thursday Dec. 21, 2017, congress voted 79 votes in favor of impeachment falling short of the 87 votes needed.

Kenji Fujimori, the son of Alberto, was able to save Kuczynski by holding back 10 votes. The strange turn of events was the culmination of a year where the Fujimori majority in congress had been playing rough with the presidency, the justice system, the interior department and prosecutors.

But the president’s  salvation has caused the government to lose many supporters who had backed him against Keiko Fujimori in the 2016 presidential elections. The tight election required emergency support from the Peruvian Left and other anti-Fujimori groups to win. The president has attempted to put a new spin on the ruins of his administration by calling the pardon a move which will contribute to national reconciliation.

What is likely ahead though, is a convulsive period in which the human rights movement returns to a activism not seen since the end of the 1990s.

The Peruvian human rights organization APRODEH  (Asociacion Pro Derechos Humanos) and international human rights organizations such as Amnesty  International, the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) have depicted the pardon as violating human rights law regarding  crimes against humanity. They have also criticized the participation of a Fujimori personal doctor on the board that studied his health problems.

Kuczynski issued two types of executive pardons. One pardons the crimes of Los Barriios Altos and La Cantuta — Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the two cases. He has served 10 years in prison.

The second pardon known as the derecho de gracia forbids further prosecution for the killing of six persons in Patavilca, Chile.

The Inter-american Human Rights Court of the OAS has scheduled a hearing, February 2, to discuss the legality of the pardon. Under international human rights law, pardons and amnesty are not allowed for violations classified as crimes against humanity.

The hearing in Costa Rica will also hear two recent Peruvian requests for restraining orders (medios cautelares).  Both of the other cases involve the Fujimori majority in congress investigating and interfering with legal decisions through actions in the congressional sub-commission on Constitutional Accusations. In one case, four members of the Constitutional Court ask for protection for a decision regarding the 1980s Fronton Prison masacre case in which they classified it as a crime against humanity. The commission is attempting to suspend three judges for 30 days and ban a fourth from public office for life.

In the other case, the National Prosecutor Pablo Sanchez, asks protection from a congressional charge against him of dysfunctional conduct for his actions as the head of the Peruvian investigation into Olderbrecht bribery scandal. 7a,7b

APRODEH has also filed a challenge to the pardons through the Peruvian Constitutional Control Court. Those protesting the presidents pardon are calling for an annulment of the decision. Some also want  the president to resign and for new elections to be called. 8

The investigation into Olderbrecht related corruption, which involves President Kuckzynski, Congresswoman and Presidential Candidate Keiko Fujimori, and former presidents: Alan Garcia, Ollanta Humala and his wife, Nadine Heredia. and Alejandro Toledo, is also raising concerns about a need to ensure against impunity in the high level cases. 8a

Saturday, Dec. 30, the El Comercio newspaper published an opinion poll by IPSOS which showed that 56% approved of the Fujimori pardon while 40% opposed it. Some 63% of those polled said the decision was the result of a negotiation to avoid impeachment. Overall approval of the president was up 7 points from two weeks earlier. 9,10,11

The results show a sector of support for the pardon that could encourage the government to ignore human rights law concerns. The new government of national reconciliation could also mark another advance in power for Fujimori forces as they advance toward the presidency in the next election.

Protests are scheduled for January 11 and 17.

SOURCES

1. Peru: UN human rights experts appalled by Fujimori pardon
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22568&LangID=E

2. PERÚ: INDULTO Y GRACIA A ALBERTO FUJIMORI ES DURO GOLPE A LA LUCHA CONTRA IMPUNIDAD https://www.amnistia.org/ve/noticias/2017/12/4385/indulto-y-gracia-a-alberto-fujimori-es-duro-golpe-a-la-lucha-contra-impunidad

3. CIDH expresa profunda preocupación y cuestiona el indulto concedido a Alberto Fujimori http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/prensa/comunicados/2017/218.asp

4. El lamento de Vargas Llosa por el indulto a Fujimori http://www.semana.com/mundo/articulo/vargas-llosa-y-mas-de-230-autores-peruanos-rechazan-indulto-a-fujimori/552187

5. Derecho de gracia para Alberto Fujimori es inconstitucional http://larepublica.pe/politica/1162909-derecho-de-gracia-para-alberto-fujimori-es-inconstitucional

5a. Indulto a Fujimori aprobado por el 56% , mientras el 40% lo rechaza, según Ipsos https://gestion.pe/peru/indulto-fujimori-aprobado-56-40-rechaza-segun-ipsos-223944

6. PPK: sus respuestas generaron más preguntas https://elcomercio.pe/politica/ppk-respuestas-generaron-preguntas-noticia-482637

7. PPK se queda: Congreso no consigue los votos y el fujimorismo fracasa [VIDEO]http://larepublica.pe/politica/1160646-ppk-vacancia-presidencial-en-vivo-congreso

7a. Fiscales realizaron vigilia en respaldo a Pablo Sánchez http://www.americatv.com.pe/noticias/actualidad/fiscales-realizaron-vigilia-respaldo-pablo-sanchez-n300284

7b.  Human Rights Court Blocks Attempt by Congress to Oust Constitutional Justices   http://www.peruviantimes.com/18/human-rights-court-blocks-attempt-by-congress-to-. oust-constitutional-justices/30302/

8. Peru’s jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori pardoned, sparking protests https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/25/perus-jailed-ex-president-alberto-fujimori-pardoned-sparking-protests?CMP=share_btn_tw

8a. Odebrecht: lo que dijo de PPK, Keiko, García y Humala https://elcomercio.pe/politica/odebrecht-dijo-ppk-keiko-fujimori-alan-garcia-ollanta-humala-noticia-485328

9. Indulto a Fujimori aprobado por el 56% , mientras el 40% lo rechaza, según Ipsos https://gestion.pe/peru/indulto-fujimori-aprobado-56-40-rechaza-segun-ipsos-223944

10. Peru in Uproar After Fujimori, a Rights Violator, Gets Medical Pardon

11. Fujimori condenado cinco veces.

Posted in Latin America | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chile Returns Right Wing Billionaire to Power

By Ronald J. Morgan

The right has returned to power in Chile. The election ebbed and flowed over first and second rounds and a new leftist force arose as well.

But in the end, Sebastián Piñera, 68, of the Center Right Chile Vamos party won  the Dec. 17, second round election with 54.57% versus 45.43% for Alejandro Guillier of the Left Nuevo Mayoria. Piñera won in 13 of 15 regions with 3,795,896. vote. The Piñera win was the largest vote tally since 1993. 1,2

Piñera will follow Center-Left President Michelle Bachelet, (2006-2010, and 2014-2018) the same candidate who followed him after a contentious first term from 2010 to 2014. The consensus emerging from the campaign was a desire to get the Chilean economy moving after four years of slow growth.

It is predicted that the new government will stimulate both government and private investment. This will include tax reform. 3,4,5

And while Piñera may seem similar to Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri in political outlook. he will face a much harder political challenge from the opposition due to a lack of a majority in congress. Piñera faces important opposition on the left and the right.

Piñera was predicted to win in the first round Nov. 19. But the left pulled close enough to force a second round. Piñera received just 36% of the vote. Alejandoro Guillier, 64, came in second with 22.7%. The first round also saw the rise of a new left party, the Frent Amplio. Headed by Beatriz Sanchez, 46. The Frente Amplio won 20 deputy seats and one senate seat. The new grouping is left and youth orientated. 6,7

First analysis of the situation predicts that Piñera will move first to create a working alliance in congress. He will then take up a number of reforms which have already been under consideration. These include:

Reform of the Pinchet era pension system.

Education Reforms.

Heath care Reforms.

These reforms will now be shaped by a conservative political vision. The president will also have to deal with a growing Mapuche Indigenous dispute and handle the Bolivia demand for access to the sea. 8,9,10,11

The new advance for the right was greeted by the biggest surge in Chilean stock market history — up 7.56% the day after the election. The Chilean peso also strengthened 2.4%.

SOURCES:

1. Sebastián Piñera se convierte en el Presidente electo con mayor cantidad de votos desde 1993 http://www.emol.com/noticias/Nacional/2017/12/17/887730/Sebastian-Pinera-se-convierte-en-el-Presidente-electo-con-mayor-cantidad-de-votos-desde-1993.html

2. Piñera se impuso en 13 de las 15 regiones a Guillier: en diez lo superó por más de cinco puntos http://www.emol.com/noticias/Nacional/2017/12/17/887723/Pinera-se-impuso-en-13-de-las-15-regiones-a-Guillier-en-diez-lo-supero-por-mas-de-cinco-puntos.html

3. Los cinco desafíos del próximo presidente de Chile
http://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/desafios-presidente-chile-elecciones-politica.html#.WjcU5jEciEs.twitter

4. El desafío de Piñera, ante un Congreso dividido en tres bloques https://www.clarin.com/mundo/desafio-pinera-congreso-dividido-bloques_0_rk-pjPVGG.html

5. Asesores económicos de Piñera detallan prioridades en nuevo Gobierno
http://www.emol.com/noticias/Economia/2017/12/18/887837/Asesores-economicos-de-Pinera-detallan-los-primeros-planes-a-ejecutar-en-nuevo-Gobierno.html

6. El empresario que quebró la hegemonía de la izquierda https://elpais.com/internacional/2017/12/14/america/1513290633_700081.htm

6a. Valparaíso, el laboratorio del Frente Amplio de la izquierda chilena ttps://elpais.com/internacional/2017/12/16/actualidad/1513446412_999822.htmll

7. Bolsa chilena toca máximo histórico, peso se dispara tras contundente triunfo de Piñera https://lta.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idLTAKBN1EC1MW-OUSLB

8. Explainer: Chile’s Top Election Issues and Candidates https://www.as-coa.org/articles/explainer-chiles-top-election-issues-and-candidates

9. Argentina y Chile firman el más ambicioso acuerdo comercial en 20 años https://elpais.com/economia/2017/11/02/actualidad/1509651502_596875.html?id_externo_rsoc=TW_CC

10. “El centroizquierda chileno entrará en una noche larga”https://elpais.com/internacional/2017/11/02/america/1509646717_203860.html?id_externo_rsoc=TW_CC

11. El ‘milagro’ chileno, a revisión https://elpais.com/economia/2017/11/03/actualidad/1509712194_848064.html?id_externo_rsoc=TW_CC

 

Posted in Latin America | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Argentina Green-lights Pro Business Shift

By Ronald J. Morgan

Argentina’s recent Oct. 22, midterm elections have reshaped the Argentine congress and made the conservative Cambiemos Party the major power in the land. Winning more than 40 percent of the votes nation wide, the coalition of Cambiemos, Union Civica Radical and Coalicion Civica ARI, has achieved a landslide victory. 1. 2.

Cristina Kirchner, and her Unidad Ciudadana, were defeated in all but two of the country’s 23 provinces — Formosa and Rio Negro. And while former President Kirchner (2007-2013) will be in the senate as the head of the party, she lost to Cambiemos member Esteban Bullrich, Minister of Education, by about 400,000 votes according to EL PAIS.  It was a symbolic face off in Buenos Aires province, and for some, it showed the declining power of Kirchernism. The opposition Peronist Party (Justicialista Party), also suffered a severe set back; losing 75 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 11 in the Senate. 3, 4

In addition to the Bullrich victory, Cambiemos candidate Elisa Carrio scored a powerful win in the Chamber of Deputies taking 50.93% of the votes for the Buenos Aires seat. The win  could propel her toward a major political role in the future.

SEE: Argentina Votes Ahead of Radical Neoliberal Reforms

The victory for Macri’s party has fueled a powerful advance for radical neoliberal reforms. A convert to the beliefs of the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, (OECD), Marci has vowed his economic program wIll change Argentina forever and reduce poverty through its pro business reforms which will ensure increases in investment and GDP growth. 5, 6, 7. 7a, 7b.

“Today the certainty that we can change history forever won,” President Macri said on election night. “We want to achieve something big, a country that has decided to do things well.”

Who wouldn’t be a bit overly ambitious after defeating one  of Argentina’s most powerful political machines so soundly. But the new neoliberal dogma seems mostly aimed at  making life easier for Argentina’s business sector and foreign investors. 

As Christmas and summer vacation approach, the effects will be further price hikes and the dismal prospect of major government worker job cuts next year. And added to that, will be dramatic labor reforms which will cut into job benefits and legal rights.  Argentina retirees will see a scaling back of the formula for cost of living increases.

For the business sector it will be a good Christmas for Scrooge indeed. Macri plans a major tax cut and overhaul of the tax system. Argentina’s investment and money market laws will also be liberalized. 8, 9, 10

Power will be in the hands of the Argentine rich more than at anytime since the President Carlos Menem (1989-1999) era. For instance, shortly after the election results were in, Macri appointed the head of Argentina’s Rural Society, Luis Miguel Etchevehere, to the post of Agriculture Minister. Macri has told the foremost representative of the agricultural sector to draw up a series of reforms likeable to the Argentina agricultural interests.

Kirchner has suffered a severe defeat in the Congress and is awash in legal prosecutions. Nevertheless, she has vowed to fight the growing neoliberal advance. “This is just the beginning” she said, of the fight ahead for the Left.

Argentina’s powerful labor sector has begun meeting to draw up a plan to stop Macri efforts to change major components of Argentina’s labor law.

“This will not pass congress,” said Hector Daer of the CGT labor confederation. 11, 12.,13

A major component of the Macri agenda is aimed at reducing Argentina’s government deficit. As a result, Macri plans to reign in both central government and state government expenditures. Macri has spoken out about too many employees in state universities, health institutions and libraries not to mention the glut of congressional assistants. Government para-state companies also will suffer budget slashing and employee reductions.14,15,16

Even with the strong electoral mandate. Macri may find that the neoliberal program is more than Argentina can handle. Carrio, has  been rumored to have some ability to check Macri proposals. Her big win could also set up a run at the presidency in two years.

For certain, strikes and street protests are up ahead.

Despite all the talk about austerity, the Macri economic strategy is relying on heavy foreign borrowing, which is being used to stimulate the economy through infrastructure projects. La Republica of Uruguay reported that the Macri government will have borrowed $125 billion by 2018. The amount of debt being accumulated is raising concerns of a disaster down the road. Macri has said the borrowing will continue until the austerity cuts take hold.17, 18, 19.

Macri hopes to have the economy back up and running next year. The growth with lower inflation, could propel Marci to reelection in two years.


ELECTION RESULTS, WIKIPEDIA 

Chamber of Deputies: Up for vote, 127 seats out of 257

Cambiemos 61 seats won, total seats 109, up 19.

Unidad Ciudadana 28 seats won, 30 seats total. up 25.

Justicialista Party (Peronist Party) 18 won, 23 seats total, down 75.

Unido Por una Nueva Alternativa 4 seats won, 19 seats total, down 17.

Frente Civico Por Santiago 3 seats won, 6 total,  even.

Union por Cordoba 3 seats won, 5 seats total, even.

Frente Renovador de la Concordia 2 seats won,4 four total down 1.

Evolucion 2 seats won, 2 seats total.  2 up (new party).

Chubut para Todos 1 seat won, 2 seats total, 1 down.

Frente Pro Civica y Social  1 seat won, 1 seat total, 2 down.

Movimiento Popular Neuquino |1 seat won, 1 seat total, 1 seat down.

Partido Instransiente 1 seat won, 1 seat total, 1 up. (new party).

Salta Somos Todos 0 seats won, 1 seats total,  no change.

Proyecto Sur 0 seats won, 0 seats total, 1 down.

ARGENTINE SENATE RESULTS 24 of 72 seats.

Cambiemos 12sets won ,26 seats total, 9 up.

Unidad Ciudadana 6 seats won, 6 seats total, 3 up.

Partido Justicialista (Peronist Party) 4 seats won, 28 seats total, down 11.

Frente Renovador de la Concordia 2 seats won, 2 seats total,  even.

Unido Para una Nueva Alternativa 9 seats won, 4 seats total, 1 seat down.

Other Parties: 6 seats.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentine_legislative_election,_2017


SOURCES:

1. Mauricio Macri logra una victoria aplastante en las Elecciones de Argentina El presidente derrota a Cristina Kirchner en Buenos Aires y arrasa en casi todo el paíshttps://elpais.com/internacional/2017/10/22/argentina/1508700266_925755.html?id_externo_rsoc=TW_CC

2. Argentine legislative election, 2017 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentine_legislative_election,_2017

3. Cambiemos se impuso en los distritos más grandes del país y venció a Cristina Kirchner https://www.clarin.com/politica/cambiemos-impuso-distritos-grandes-pais-vencio-cristina-kirchner_0_HJ1gXJip-.html

4. El Triunfor de Elisa Carrio https://www.infobae.com/politica/2017/08/14/el-triunfo-de-elisa-carrio-un-arma-de-doble-filo-para-el-gobierno-proyecta-su-figura-nacional-y-gana-terreno-para-la-critica-interna/

5. Macri tiene un apoyo muy fuerte de la opinion publica http://www.lanacion.com.ar/2078587-alejandro-catterberg-director-de-poliarquia-macri-tiene-un-apoyo-muy-fuerte-de-la-opinion-publica

6.. El presidente Mauricio Macri presentó las propuestas para consensuar políticas públicas

7. Los 5 desafíos económicos que enfrenta el Gobierno tras las elecciones https://www.clarin.com/economia/desafios-economicos-enfrenta-gobierno-elecciones_0_HJbfeLq6Z.html

7a. Mauricio Macri y sus diez definiciones más fuertes https://www.clarin.com/politica/mauricio-macri-definiciones-fuertes_0_SJ8Jx1BRW.html

7b. El guion del FMI https://www.pagina12.com.ar/72763-el-guion-del-fmi

8. las naftas comienza la temporada de aumentoshttps://www.pagina12.com.ar/71053-con-las-naftas-comienza-la-temporada-de-aumentos

9. Marci planea un fuerte achicamiento de cargos http://www.lanacion.com.ar/2079551-macri-planea-un-fuerte-achicamiento-de-cargos-y-estructuras

10. Marci impulsara una profunda reforma laboral http://www.republica.com.uy/mauricio-macri-impulsara-una-profunda-reforma-laboral/

11. El Plan para el future es volver al pasado https://www.pagina12.com.ar/73485-el-plan-para-el-futuro-es-volver-al-pasado

12. Fue escrito por empresarios https://www.pagina12.com.ar/73483-fue-escrito-por-empresarios

13. Elecciones y después https://www.pagina12.com.ar/71724-elecciones-y-despues

14. Para garantizar la injusticia social https://www.pagina12.com.ar/73943-para-garantizar-la-injusticia-social

15. Reforma de Macri viola derechos de trabajadores https://www.telesurtv.net/news/Reforma-de-Macri-viola-derechos-de-trabajadores-en-Argentina-20171103-0030.html

16. El proyecto no pasa https://www.pagina12.com.ar/73944-el-proyecto-no-pasa

17. Para garantizar la injusticia social https://www.pagina12.com.ar/73943-para-garantizar-la-injusticia-social

18. JUBILADOS, DEVALUADOS

https://www.pagina12.com.ar/73945-movilidad-social-descendente

19. Mauricio Macri seguira tomando deuda deficit https://www.clarin.com/economia/economia/mauricio-macri-seguira-tomando-deuda-deficit_0_BJfb7Os6b.html

 

 

Posted in Latin America | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela Opposition Opts Out of Municipal Elections

By Ronald J. Morgan

In a surprising turnabout, the Venezuela opposition is in tumult following a dispute over the legitimacy of the Venezuelan Constitutional Assembly. As a result of a feeling that the Venezuelan electoral system should be declared fraudulent and the assembly discredited as well, the opposition bloc, Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), has announced that it will not participate in the upcoming Dec. 10, municipal elections. 1.

The announcement by all  major opposition groups comes after a dispute over how to handle the swearing in of the five opposition governors who won in the Oct. 15 elections. The oppositon won five out of 23 governorships. The decision by the Accion Democratica faction to go along with the government’s order to swear in their four newly elected governors before the assembly led to a dispute with other members of the MUD coalition. Henrique Capriles, head  of the Primero Justicia party, former governor of Merida state and an opposition presidential candidate twice, announced that he was leaving the opposition coalition. He said he would not return as long as Henry Ramos Allup, head of the Accion Democratica remained. Ramos Allup served as president of the Venezuealan National Assembly in 2016. 2,3

The coalition had declared the Constitutional Assembly illegitimate. But the government left the opposition winners little choice but to swear in under their authority or be disqualified from holding office. Four governors who are members of  Accion Democratica Party swore in while one member of the Primero Justicia party refused to swear in. The Accion Democratica governors are: Antonio Barreto Sira, Anzoategui state; Ramon Guevara, Merida state; Alfredo Diaz, Nueva Esparta state and Laidy Gomez, Tachira state. Refusing to swear in was Juan Pablo Guanipa, Zulia state.

Guanipa was fired by the Zulia state legislature in retaliation for not swearing in. A new election for Zulia governor will be held Dec. 10

SEE: Venezuela Regional Elections: A Major Opposition Defeat

The situation was seen by a number of opposition members and some foreign observers as weakening the objective of declaring the constitutional assembly illegitimate. It also undermined charges that the Oct. 15 regional elections were fraudulent. 4,5.6

Whether the sworn-in Accion Democratica governors will function as some type of official opposition was also a concern for opposition groups like Voluntad Popular and Primero Justicia. Ramos Allup has announced that Accion Democratica will join in the boycott of the December municipal elections. He agrees that current conditions are not adequate for fair elections. In the mean time, he also favors moving ahead with opposition primaries to choose a unified presidential candidate.

The United States, Organization of American States, the European Union and the Lima Group of former foreign presidents have declared the election marred by fraud and irregularities. 7,8,9,10

At the same time that the Opposition MUD was falling apart the European Union awarded the group the Andrei Sakharov prize for human rights. The prize signalled out for recognition, the National Assembly and its opposition leader Julio Borges. It also honored opposition members being held in prison: Leopoldo Lopez, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea Gonzalez.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro has declared the opposition MUD to have “self suicided” The newpaper Tal Cual reported that Maduro threatened to send opposition members to prison if they sabotaged the municipal elections. Maduro has also criticized the opposition for only recognizing the results when they win. 11,12

The president is seen by some as benefitting from the surprise win for the official party coalition in the Oct. 15 elections and the resulting disarray in the opposition. So far, hard and fast proof of election fraud has also failed to materialize.  The move away from electoral participation by the opposition will at least in the short run strengthen the government’s hold on the country. All out polarization over the legitimacy of the Maduro government also is ahead.

SOURCES:

1. Ramos Allup: Militante de Acción Democrática que se postule quedará autoexcluido http://www.talcualdigital.com/Nota/151164/ramos-allup-militante-de-accion-democratica-que-se-postule-quedara-autoexcluido

2. Henrique Capriles anunció su retiro de la Mesa de la Unidad http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/oposicion/henrique-capriles-anuncio-retiro-mesa-unidad_2091773.

3. Venezuela: ¿qué consecuencias puede tener para la oposición que se fracture la MUD por las divisiones entre Henrique Capriles y Henry Ramos Allup?http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-41744117

4. Perú plantea involucrar a la ONU para afrontar crisis en Venezuela http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/mundo/peru-plantea-involucrar-onu-para-afrontar-crisis-venezuela_209371

5. Venezuelan Opposition Announces International Tour to Denounce “Electoral Fraud”https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13465 .

6. OEA denuncia irregularidades en recientes elecciones venezolanas http://www.la-razon.com/mundo/venezuela-elecciones-denuncia-oea-irregularidades_0_2807719243.html

7. Elecciones regionales en Venezuela
Por James Petras, Rebelión –  Oct. 28, 2017 http://argentina.indymedia.org/news/2017/10/914336.php?theme=1

8. On Venezuela’s Regional Elections: Some Elephants in the Roomhttps://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13464

9. Hinterlaces: Mayoría del pueblo avala el modelo económico socialista http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/hinterlaces-mayor%C3%ADa-del-pueblo-avala-construcci%C3%B3n-modelo-econ%C3%B3mico-socialista

10. Oposición venezolana carece de credibilidad en la población info.ve/contenido/jvr-oposici%C3%B3n-venezolana-carece-credibilidad-poblaci%C3%B3n

11. Nicolás Maduro: La oposición tomó el camino del “autosuicidio”http://www.talcualdigital.com/Nota/151168/nicolas-maduro-la-oposicion-tomo-el-camino-del-autosuicidio

12. Maduro afianza su poder sobre una oposición fracturada http://www.la-razon.com/nacional/Venezuela-Maduro-oposicion-Capriles_0_2807719244.html

 

 

Nl

Posted in Latin America | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Venezuela Regional Elections: A Major Opposition Defeat

Ronald J. Morgan

After street protests, which left 125 dead in Venezuela in the  first half of 2017, the second half of the year has been marked by election of a new constitutional convention and regional elections.

The protests called for a return to full democracy including respect for all government powers — congress, supreme court and presidency. In return,the government of President Nicolas Maduro (2013-) responded with a new constitutional convention which has consolidated his hold on the country. 1.

Maduro has said the convention, which will rule supreme for two years, has brought the country social peace and beaten back a violent coup from the streets. The opposition and international supporters have depicted the new assembly as establishing a dictatorship. The July 30, Constitutional Assembly election was criticized as fraudulent. The chief charge was that the voter turnout had been inflated by a 1 million votes. The election also was convened by presidential decree rather than by a national referendum. Once the new constitution is drawn up, however, it will face a voter referendum.

See: Venezuela Crisis Deepens

With the constitutional convention underway, the new assembly voted to move up regional elections to October 15.  With Maduro popularity hitting the basement and the country plagued by food and medicine shortages as well as hyperinflation members of the opposition MUD (Mesa de la Unidad Democratica) thought that they could show their power in any election and easily prove that the government was without support.

Even though the government’s power was already secured by the Constitutional Convention the opposition decided to participate in the Oct. 15 regional elections. They expected a landslide victory and opinion polls seemed to validate that assumption.

But the results, instead, gave a landslide victory to the government. The pro-government coalition Gran Polo Patriotico (GPP) won 18 out of 23 governor seats. A pro-government analysis argued that voters were tired of street protest violence and a government food assistance program was popular. The official turnout was 61% of registered voters.  The official party GPP took 52.7% of the total votes to the 45.1% for the MUD.  2a,2b

The United States immediately accused Venezuela of fraud, but so far, concrete proof has not been provided. OAS General Secretary Luis Alamagro also condemned the election as did forty foreign countries.  3,4,5,5a

Criticism of the election included: Last minute relocation of voting centers; inclusion of defeated primary candidates on the ballot, lack of invisible ink at some polling stations, mysterious power outages, Pro government supporters known as Colectivos patrolling near polling places.

Opinion polls before the vote showed the MUD ahead. The firm Datanalysis showed MUD ahead 44.7% to 21.1% for GPP.

The opposition has called for an extensive audit of the election process. Further internationally mediated talks aimed at reducing polarization inside Venezuela have also been put on hold. 6,7,8

Further complications arose when the five newly elected opposition governors said they would not be sworn in by the Constituent Assembly since the opposition has refused to recognize the body. The governors won in the Venezuela states of Anzoátegui, Nueva Esparta, Mérida, Táchira y Zulia. President Nicolas Maduro has announced that unless they agree to be sworn in by the Constituent Assembly and respect its powers new elections will be held in those states.

Venezuelan municipal elections are scheduled for Dec. 10. Presidential elections are coming next year. It is expected that the United States and the European Union will implement new sanctions against Venezuela. Venezuela faces increasing financial commitments in coming months. 9,10,11

SOURCES:

1, What has Venezuela’s constituent assembly achieved? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41094889#

2. Nicolás Maduro: “Venezuela le dio un mensaje brutal a EE.UU. y sus aliados en las elecciones regionales” https://www.clarin.com/mundo/nicolas-maduro-venezuela-dio-mensaje-brutal-eeuu-aliados-elecciones-regionales_0_H1zEcn7pW.html

2a 18 gobernaciones ganó el chavismo el 15-O http://www.avn.info.ve/contenido/18-gobernaciones-gan%C3%B3-chavismo-15-o

2b. Regionales en Venezuela: claves del nuevo escenario político https://www.telesurtv.net/telesuragenda/Regionales-en-Venezuela-20171016-0017.html

3. Elecciones en Venezuela no fueron ni libres ni justas: EE.UU.https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/el-mundo/elecciones-en-venezuela-no-fueron-ni-libres-ni-justas-eeuu-articulo-7183983.

4.. “Ninguna elección en Venezuela dará garantía a los electores”: Secretario general de la OEA, Luis Almagro http://www.ntn24america.com/noticia/almagro-ninguna-eleccion-venezuela-dara-garantia-a-los-electores-155312

5.. 40 countries protest Venezuela’s new assembly amid fraud accusations https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/02/venezuela-voting-fraud-corruption-allegations-protests

5a. Venezuelan Regional Election: Opposition Claims Fraud in Areas They Won http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=20240#.WeZavAcwun4.twitter

6. Oposición venezolana no asistirá al diálogo hasta que se realice auditoría de todo el proceso electoral http://www.ntn24america.com/noticia/Oposici%C3%B3n-venezolana-no-asistir%C3%A1-al-di%C3%A1logo-hasta-que-se-realice-auditoria-de-todo-el-proceso-electoral-155307

7. Resultados del 15-O no se corresponden con la baja popularidad de Maduro http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/politica/resultados-del-15-o-corresponden-con-baja-popularidad-maduro_208143

8. Los resultados de las elecciones en Venezuela difieren por más de 30 puntos con las proyecciones de las encuestas https://www.infobae.com/america/venezuela/2017/10/16/los-resultados-de-las-elecciones-en-venezuela-difieren-por-mas-de-30-puntos-con-las-proyecciones-de-las-encuestas/#XAS3QRFMDJHGLKYDTE3JIMQYXY

9. Venezuela regional election roundup https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venezuelan_regional_elections,_2017

10. Venezuela Protest Timeline : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_2017_Venezuelan_protests#August

11. Maduro enfrenta un trimestre con restricciones financieras y altos compromisos http://www.talcualdigital.com/Nota/148804/maduro-enfrenta-un-trimestre-con-restricciones-financieras-y-altos-compromisos

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Latin America | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment