Argentina. A politically very successful year for incumbent President Cristina Kirchner ended as expected with a big win in the October 23 presidential election. Victory was historic in many ways. According to Countryaah official site, Kirchner became the first female president ever to be re-elected. It was also the first time that the Peronist Party (Partido Justicialista, PJ) won a third term in a row, and the victory margin was the largest in Argentina’s history – 54% against second-placed socialist Hermes Binner, who only got 17%. The large victory margin was largely due to Kirchner’s success in winning in all major cities except Rosario, and in the capital, Buenos Aires, she received more than a third of all votes cast.
At the same time, Kirchner succeeded in regaining control of both chambers of Congress. The government coalition Frente para la Victoria (FPV) increased the number of seats in the Chamber of Deputies from 87 to 116. Together with the alliance parties, the government thus gained a majority to count on in the future, even though it was not large enough for constitutional reforms. Among the opposition parties, the largest, Unión Cívica Radical (UCR), was the big loser and saw its number of seats reduced from 43 to 40. Even in the Senate, the strength of relations to the FPV’s advantage was postponed and the government, after party negotiations, may also have a comfortable majority where.
The election year 2011 also meant that government-friendly governors govern all but one of Argentina’s provinces – Santa Fé, San Luís and the city of Buenos Aires. However, the victory in the presidential election came in the midst of an economically troubling time. Just four days later, hard currency controls were introduced to keep the exchange rate stable and prevent capital flight. Above all, President Kirchner was under pressure to reduce government spending, among other things. by reducing government energy subsidies to a total value of $ 141 million for successful companies, and halting inflation that reached 7% during the year. The measures were expected to create tension, especially with the residents of the metropolis of Buenos Aires and with the union. According to a survey, three Argentines live below the poverty line.
The Senate approves a new abortion law
The Senate is voting to liberalize the country’s strict abortion legislation after a 12-hour debate. 38 senators vote for the new law, 29 vote against and one member abstains. The four senators who said they were unsure of how they would vote support the decision. Abortion will now be allowed from the 14th week of pregnancy. Activists have long fought for a more liberal abortion law, while the Catholic Church opposed it. Large crowds of people, both those who support the new law and those who oppose it, gather outside the parliament building where they can follow the debate via big screens. A similar vote was held in 2018, but no change in the law was made because the Senate voted no.
Argentina approves Russian vaccine
Argentina is the first country in Latin America to approve a controversial Russian vaccine against covid-19, Gam-CovidVac, which is often referred to as Russian Sputnik V. The vaccine has been criticized both in Russia and abroad as it was registered without any major clinical studies. Those who developed the vaccine say that it is 90 percent effective. A first load of 25 million doses will later reach Argentina and vaccinations will begin on 29 December.
Congress votes for liberal abortion law
Parliament’s lower house of Congress is voting to liberalize the country’s abortion laws, with 131 votes in favor and 117 against. It comes after a 20-hour debate. According to the bill presented by President Alberto Fernández, abortion will be free until the 14th week of pregnancy. As it is now, abortion is only allowed if the woman has become pregnant after a rape or if the mother’s life is in danger. Now, approval from the Senate is also required for the law to enter into force. A similar vote was held in 2018, but no change in the law was made because the Senate voted no. The Catholic Church opposes a possible change in the law.
Argentina faces “millionaire tax”
Argentina has introduced a new one-off tax that makes it possible to tax 12,000 of the country’s richest people to pay for measures to combat the ongoing corona crisis. These include the purchase of medicines, support for small and medium-sized companies, scholarships for students, money for social development and natural gas investments. Anyone with assets worth at least 200 million pesos (approximately $ 2.5 million) must pay up to 3.5 percent of the value of these if they live in Argentina, and up to 5.25 percent if the assets are located abroad. Critics say the law could reduce foreign companies’ willingness to invest in Argentina, and the bourgeois opposition equates the law with confiscation of assets. 42 of the senate members vote for the new tax 26 vote against it.