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ARGENTINA | 02-11-2019 12:30

Oct 28th-Nov 3rd: What We Learned This Week

Wha has happened in our country the past seven days?

ALBERTO PRESIDENTE

Alberto Fernández is the country’s next president after the provisional vote count (97 percent) from last Sunday’s general elections placed him eight percent ahead of outgoing President Mauricio Macri. Yet the latter was almost in a celebratory mood when he gained two million votes from his crushing PASO primary defeat last August to poll 40.4 percent, as well as City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s landslide win of 55 percent to avert a runoff this month. Fernández will enjoy control of the Senate with allies but not the Chamber of Deputies (not even with allies). But his Frente de Todos won all three provinces to vote – Buenos Aires, Catamarca and La Rioja – with majorities ranging from comfortable to huge.

 

BREAKFAST AT MAURICIO’S

President Mauricio Macri hosted his Frente de Todos successor Alberto Fernández to an extremely late breakfast on Monday morning following a long election night and began the transition process on apparently smooth terms. The two men kept their hour-long conservation mostly to themselves but Fernández did introduce Macri to some of his transition team – Santiago Cafiero, Guillermo Nielsen, Cecilia Todesca and Matías Kulfas.

 

LA PLATA PARLEY

On Thursday outgoing Buenos Aires Governor María Eugenia Vidal held her own transition meeting with her successor, former Economy minister Axel Kicillof, the runaway election winner last Sunday. The meeting was generally cordial but Kicillof demanded a rollback of recent utility rate increases.

 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

President-elect Alberto Fernández last Wednesday received a youth who was stigmatized by the social networks for wearing sports clothes and a baseball cap with the peak pulled backwards while acting as a polling-booth authority in Moreno in last Sunday’s elections. Brian Gallo, 22, was invited to Frente de Todos headquarters in San Telmo where he was greeted by the future president in the spirit of his tweet: “The country now coming will leave behind prejudice and discrimination. We are all Brian.”

 

WINDS OF CHANGE BLOW THROUGH COMODORO PY?

Partial reprieves for the two leading figures of the last Kirchnerite administration in the first week after last Sunday´s Frente de Todos victory – former president (and vice-presidentto-be) Cristina Fernández de Kirchner saw the Federal Appeals Court order two of the dozen cases against her to be dropped while her 2007- 11 vice-president Amado Boudou had a slight reduction in his sentence.

 

OFF THE RAILS

Over half a million commuters were stranded by a train strike yesterday until the government called compulsory conciliation.

 

BOOTY CALL FROM DONALD

United States President Donald Trump yesterday telephoned president-elect Alberto Fernández to congratulate him on his election victory, looking forward to a “mature and cordial relationship” and informing him that he had asked the International Monetary Fund to co-operate with Argentina.

 

MONEY! MONEY! MONEY?

Currency controls were sharply tightened immediately after last Sunday’s election, capping monthly dollar withdrawals at US$ 200 (only half in cash at most). As a result the official exchange rate fell from a pre-electoral 65 pesos to 63.35 pesos yesterday although unofficial exchange rates were as high as 81.13 pesos. Country risk closed the week on 2,278 points.

 

PETROL PRICES UP

The government on Thursday authorised a five percent increase in petrol prices but the industry complained that they still lag badly behind international levels. Meanwhile Alberto Fernández was reported as approaching giant oil companies in order to attract investments to accelerate the development of Vaca Muerta shale.

 

 

CARRIÓ WAVES GOODBYE

Civic Coalition leader Elisa Carrió was the first permanent casualty of last Sunday’s election, announcing on Wednesday the end of a political career stretching over a quarter-century and three presidential candidacies. She will be vacating her Congress seat just before the first state-ofthe-nation of Alberto Fernández in March.

 

NUCLEAR EXPERTS IN HIGH PLACES

Argentine diplomat Rafael Grossi has emerged as the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) after voting in Vienna last week.

 

MÓNICA MESZ MBE

Mónica Mesz, Executive Director of the Argentine British Chamber of Commerce (CCAB) for 15 years (far longer than any other manager in the Chamber’s 105 years) was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) at the hands of British Ambassador Mark Kent on Thursday night in a ceremony at the Embassy residence. Congratulations!

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