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The End of Peronism?

Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina's greatest writer, once said, "Peronists are neither good nor bad, they are merely incorrigible." As Argentina prepares for its presidential election on April 27 th , the behavior of today's Peronist factions provides conclusive proof of that characterization.

The Peronist Party has not rallied around a single candidate. Because Peronist politics is defined by pragmatism and opportunism, not principle, leading Peronists have felt free to pursue their own ambitions as their traditional enemy, the Radical Party, looks set to secure a mere 2-3% of the vote.

Three Peronist candidates--two former presidents, Carlos Menem and Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, and Néstor Kirchner, governor of the remote southern province of Santa Cruz--are competing for the post. None is allowed to use either the name or the symbols of the Peronist Party. But all claim to be Juan Perón's rightful heir.

What a motley inheritance to claim! Not even Argentina deserves the history Peronism bequeathed.