Political Uncertainty Is Deepening Argentina’s Economic Crisis

Political Uncertainty Is Deepening Argentina’s Economic Crisis
A supporter of Cristina Fernandez and her late husband Nestor Kirchner holds up a flag featuring their portraits during a campaign rally for the leading opposition ticket, in Santa Rosa, Argentina, Oct. 17, 2019. (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Argentina will hold a general election Sunday, but a struggling economy means the odds are stacked heavily against incumbent President Mauricio Macri. One out of 10 working-age Argentines are unemployed, and the annual inflation rate stands at more than 50 percent. GDP contracted by 2.5 percent in 2018 and by another 2.5 percent during the first half of this year. Macri’s best hope is to force a runoff, but opposition presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez and his running mate, former President Cristina Fernandez, look likely to win outright in the first round of voting.

This is not the first economic crisis for Argentina. For those who lived through the depression of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the country’s current situation must seem eerily familiar, if less severe. To discuss the reasons why the country is so prone to economic instability, WPR’s Elliot Waldman is joined by Luciano Cohan, a Buenos Aires-based economist and consultant who recently served as undersecretary of macroeconomic policy at Argentina’s Ministry of Finance. They also talk about how the political uncertainty surrounding the election outcome—particularly, which of the two Fernandezes will actually govern should they win as expected—is making Argentina’s economic woes more difficult to resolve.

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
Fear of Fernandez’s Return Should Be Helping Argentina’s Macri. It’s Not
Will Cristina Fernandez’s Surprise Political Ploy Work in Argentina?
Macri Tries to Weather Argentina’s Economic Storm by Ending ‘Gradualismo’
Argentina Is Getting Impatient With Macri’s Painful Economic Reforms

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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