Publish in Perspectives - Monday, April 22, 2013
An estimated one million people marched in Buenos Aires last week in the largest anti-government protest of the Kirchner era. (Photo: CGT)
Anti-government protests reduces the likelihood that Cristina Fernandez can run for re-election.
BY CARLOS CAICEDO
On April 18, anti-government protests attracted an estimated 2 million people countrywide, including about 1 million in Buenos Aires. It was the largest anti-government protest of the Kirchner era.
The protests demonstrate rising discontent with President Fernandez over several factors that include: 1) the government's recently introduced judicial reform, 2) high inflation, 3) currency controls, 4) salary demands, 5) the government's slow response to the March 2013 floods, 6) perceptions of rising insecurity and 7) concerns over President Fernandez's alleged plans to seek a third term.
In Buenos Aires, the main gathering point was at the Obelisco on Avenida 9 de Julio, from where they marched towards Plaza de Mayo. Unlike previous anti-government protests, protesters also gathered directly outside the National Congress building. Although this protest was initially organized via social media, it later gained the support of opposition parties Unión Cívica Radical (UCR), Propuesta Republicana (PRO), and Frente Amplio Progresista (FAP). The protest was also endorsed by Hugo Moyano, the powerful CGT union leader.
MORE PROTESTS, ROADBLOCKS
Future anti-government protests are likely to lead to severe traffic disruption in Buenos Aires and provincial capitals across the country. An alliance with Moyano's CGT increases the risk of countrywide roadblocks by the truck drivers' union.
The participation of usually disparate anti-government organizations increases the likelihood of them presenting a united front, reducing the likelihood that Fernandez will have the congressional majority necessary to amend the constitution to allow for her re-election.
The political opposition is also increasingly likely to ally with union leaders such as Moyano to launch further disruptive protests against President Fernandez.
Carlos Caicedo is head of the Latin America division at Exclusive Analysis, a UK-based global risk consultancy recently acquired by IHS.
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