Friday, July 18, 2008

Kirchner proposal defeated

No to the soybean tariff a "huge political setback for the leftist government, which had invested an enormous amount of its credibility and political capital in the measure. "

Obviously she is not very good at counting noses or votes, if her own vice-president voted against her proposal.
Farm leaders and others watch, on
an open-air screen in Buenos Aires,
the Argentine Senate move toward
rejection of a soybean-export tax increase.

Now, for Mrs. Kirchner to get her eight–month–old presidency back on the rails, analysts said, she will have to try to reinvent herself and adopt a more consensus–based governing approach, rather than restricting decision–making to a tight inner circle centered around her husband, the ex–president Néstor Kirchner.

Or become even more confrontational.

the Kirchner government tried to frame the tax fight as nothing less than an effort to preserve Argentine democracy. The Kirchners repeatedly characterized tax opponents as "coup–mongers" and tried associating them with Argentina's repressive military dictatorships of the 1970s and early 1980s. Farm interests and tax opponents wanted "to remove the government from office and destabilize the nation," said Mr. Kirchner, who is leader of the governing Peronist party.

That didn't work. So they tried a heavy hand.

While support for farmers rose, the government was increasingly forced to rely on the backing of groups that many Argentines consider unacceptable, such as Peronist unions, which have often been linked to corruption, or bands of piqueteros, unemployed people from the barrios who depend heavily on government social programs.
That didn't work either.

Early Wednesday, the government expressed confidence that it had lined up a majority of the 72 senators to vote in favor of the proposal. A handful of senators deserted the government during the day, leaving the vote deadlocked 36–36 early Thursday morning.

Bad political leadership, to lose support so easily so late. Then it came down to how Julio Cobos would vote.

Argentine political columnist Joaquin Morales Sola wrote that Mr. Cobos's vote marked the end of a period when the Kirchners could pretty much govern Argentina as they pleased.

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