Skip to main content
Mauricio Marci, president elect of Argentina Martin Zabala/Xinhua via ZUMA Wire

Argentina’s Fresh Start

For the first time in decades, Argentine voters elected a president who is not a Peronist, a radical, or an army general. If a similar change of power had taken place in France or Brazil, the country’s citizens would be celebrating the birth of a new republic.

BUENOS AIRES – For the last 99 years, the presidency of Argentina has rotated between Peronists – Juan Domingo Perón and his populist followers – and reactionary generals. Every so often, centrists from the Radical Civic Union were voted into office, but their terms ended quickly, in resignations or coups.

In Sunday’s election, Argentina’s voters broke the pattern: for the first time in almost a century, the president will not be a Peronist, a Radical, or an army general. It is difficult to overstate the significance of the occasion. According to Héctor Schamis, a political scientist at Georgetown University, if a similar political change had occurred in France or Brazil, the country’s citizens would be celebrating the birth of a new republic.

Argentina’s new president-elect, Mauricio Macri, an engineer by training, is often described in the international press as “center-right.” But that label is not quite correct. In Argentina, the left-right divide has been blurred by the policies of the hydra-headed Perónist Justicialist Party, which privatized state companies in the 1990s, only to re-nationalize them later. Moreover, “center-right” often means “conservative,” and Macri’s victory will not “conserve” the status quo.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/Mzh9m1K;

Handpicked to read next

  1. benami154_Yousef MasoudSOPA ImagesLightRocket via Getty Images_palestine Yousef Masoud/SOPA IMAGES/LightRocket via Getty Images

    Forgetting Palestine

    Shlomo Ben-Ami

    The two-state solution is virtually dead in the water, and the international community has largely abandoned the Palestinian cause. At this point, there is little to stop Israel from cementing the one-state reality that its right-wing government has long sought, regardless of whether that leads to a permanent civil war.

  2. sachs313_SebastionBozonAFPGettyImages_EUflagtrump Sebastion Bozon/AFP/Getty Images

    Europe Must Oppose Trump

    Jeffrey D. Sachs

    European leaders should recognize that a significant majority of Americans reject Trump’s malignant narcissism. By opposing Trump and defending the international rule of law, Europeans and Americans together can strengthen world peace and transatlantic amity for generations to come.

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions