November 19th, 2021
1. Elections: the opposition managed to preserve the primary election victory smaller difference
On Sunday, November 14, the general legislative elections were held in Argentina for the renewal of 127 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, half of the total, and 24 seats in the Chamber of Senators, one third of the total. In this election, the opposition coalition, Juntos, obtained the largest number of votes in 13 districts, the ruling party in 9 districts and the remaining 2 were won by local parties linked to the provincial governments. Unlike the primary elections, the government led by Alberto Fernandez managed to reduce the number of votes in the province of Buenos Aires, the main electoral district of the country, but could not avoid defeat. Likewise, the ruling party did not reverse the results in those provinces that defined the composition of the Senate, losing in 6 out of 8 districts, reason for which it did not keep the simple majority it held in that Chamber and allowed it to dispense with the rest of the political blocs to hold sessions. After the definitive election, the new composition of the Chamber of Deputies maintained the ruling party as the first minority (118 seats) and a narrow difference with the main opposition coalition, Juntos por el Cambio (116 seats). In the Senate, the ruling party significantly reduced its legislative bloc, losing the quorum that Peronism has historically maintained in Argentina. In general, the new political scenario imposes challenges to the government, which will have to negotiate with greater capacity to advance its agenda during its next two years in office.
Infobae: Resultados de Elecciones 2021: cómo quedó el mapa político de Argentina tras la derrota del oficialismo
Página12: Resultados elecciones 2021 en tiempo real: quién ganó y quién perdió en cada distrito
2. The national government extended by decree the ordinary sessions of Congress
Through Decree 799/2021, the National Government extended the term of ordinary sessions of the National Congress until December 31, 2021. Thus, both legislative Chambers will continue with their usual dynamics of operation, keeping their committee work open to enter and rule on bills. Among the main pending bills, the Budget Law 2022, sent weeks ago by the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, stands out. The delay in the treatment of this bill corresponds to internal differences within the government regarding its content and the need to modify the text, prior to initiating its revision in the Chamber of Deputies. On the other hand, the ruling party made rapid progress in the approval of the bill on Minimum Environmental Budgets for the Management of Containers and Inclusive Recycling, which was sent weeks ago by the National Executive Power and has broad social support. The bill establishes, among other provisions, an environmental fee to be paid by the producer of containers if it desists from implementing its own return and recycling system and it is already authorized for its treatment in the next session, which has not yet been agreed upon by the different blocks. It is important to consider that next December 10 there will be the renewal of legislators in Congress who were elected in the November 14 elections.
3. IMF asks Argentina for a plan to combat inflation with “broad political and social support”
Last Sunday, while awaiting the results of the legislative elections, President Alberto Fernandez addressed the people with a recorded speech on the economic situation. In this sense, he acknowledged the need to advance in an agreement with the International Monetary Fund and assured that, in the first week of December, the national government will send to Congress a bill that makes explicit the “Pluriannual Economic Program for Sustainable Development”. Following the President’s announcement, the international organization asked Argentina to present a plan with “broad political and social support”, which attacks “high inflation”. “Our goal remains to help Argentina and its people,” an IMF spokesperson added. In a conference held on Thursday, and in line with what the organization had stated when a multi-year plan was announced, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice assured that it continues to work with the government. It should be recalled that Argentina has debt maturities with the organization for USD 17.8 billion in 2022, USD 18.8 billion in 2023 and USD 5 billion in 2024. On September 22, Argentina cancelled with the IMF a debt for USD 1,880 million, covered with the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) that arrived as part of the Fund’s assistance to its member countries due to the pandemic, equivalent to USD 4,334 million.
4. Militancy Day Event
After the defeat in the legislative elections, President Alberto Fernández called upon the Peronist militancy to celebrate its day. Under the slogan “All united we will triumph”, social movements, the CGT and different political organizations called on Tuesday from 3 pm to mobilize to Plaza de Mayo to celebrate the Militancy Day and to commemorate the return of Juan Perón to Argentina after 18 years of exile. The President was the only speaker at the event, which was not attended by the Vice-President of the Nation, Cristina Kirchner. The President ratified the importance and the “unity” of the Frente de Todos: “if we did something right, it was to build this Frente de Todos: it united us, it gave us the strength to summon this people so that in difficult times they raise their voices and accompany us accordingly”. The closing of his speech was a call to militant action to strengthen the Frente de Todos towards 2023: “we have to do what is necessary so that in 2023 we ensure a resounding victory, the victory that we Argentines deserve. Nobody has defeated us. Only those who lose their will to fight are defeated”.
5. The Minister of Health announced that there will be a third dose of coronavirus vaccine
On Wednesday, during an interview with the radio program Navarro 2023, the Minister of Health, Carla Vizzotti, announced that, in view of the increase in the circulation of the Delta variant, “the whole population, as from six months of age, will receive an immunity booster” before autumn. On the other hand, during a press conference held on Tuesday, the Head of Government of the City of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, announced that students up to third grade will no longer have to wear chapsticks in classrooms. In this regard, the Minister of Education of the City, Soledad Acuña, argued that “the decision was made on the basis that, at the initial level, interaction is key. The use of chewing goggles, especially at this school stage, creates a barrier in this interaction with their classmates and teachers”. However, the use of masks will continue to be mandatory for children from fourth grade onwards, in enclosed spaces – where the risk of viral transmission increases -, at mass events and on public transport.