He would be reelected without trouble.....
One has to be impressed by the performance of Cristina Kirchner getting her second term with more than 53% of the votes and no one else even close to 20%. Two years ago one did not give her much of a chance. Her party and husband had just lost a congressional majority after her fiasco with the agricultural sector taxes. In fact some even went on speculating about a traditional early presidential exit...
But her husband died, she became a widow that had to be respected, she played it well, the opposition did nothing out of its majority in congress as too many were only too willing to reach agreements with the executive. The the opposotion imploded really bad, sent multiple candidates and she was one to one of the most stunning results in Argentina history. As I type this it is not clear whether she will recover the majority in congress but after such a victory she should have no trouble in finding junior partners.
Why should a country supposedly as sophisticated as Argentina give such a resounding victory to a corrupt administration? Has cynicism reached such socially acceptable status?
The first thing is that Argentina is not that sophisticated and since Peron never really had a chance to establish a truly democratic system. Peronism, divided or not, in crisis or not, never got less than around 40%. It is a religion and today if you add the dissident peronistas we are talking more than 60%.As we see in Venezuela, the three richest districts, the three most educated ones, Cristina wins but fail to reach the majority (35 in Buenos Aires, 37 in Cordoba and 42 in Santa Fe). And what is perhaps the dumpster of Argentina, Santiago del Estero, she gets more than her home state even, 82%.
Still, a more united opposition could have well got more than 40%, perhaps even forced a second round. But no, it has been a battle of has-beens and wanna-bes and the most promising candidates such as Macri, mayor of Buenos Aires, bailed out early enough not to be tainted by these unseeming internecine battles.
The hard fact here is that the regime of Crisitna, even if as abusive as the Chavez one in many aspects, has been able to deliver some, corruption and all while her pretense at institutionalism rung truer than the one in the bolibanana republic. After the horrendous crisis of the turn of the century Argentina has reached a fragile but real recovery and the people, well, they do not see anywhere in the opposition someone that can offer better than Crisitna, una chica peronista as any. Now Argentina gets 4 years of Cristina mandate, a large majority of governors, and possibly a congressional majority. But she also gets a worsening world crisis, a possible drop in her exports prices while people want to consume more. We'll see.
The lesson for Venezuela is clear: 1) the opposition needs to keep its unity at all costs, 2) even a small artificial economic rebound could be enough to return Chavez to office, the more so if he manages to solve partially at least one of the pressing problems of the country, 3) Chavez will play on his disease like mad and 4) the opposition needs to understand that it is facing the birth of a Venezuelan peronism in chavismo; the sooner it gets it, the sooner we may avoid that fate.