Is the current Argentine government Peronist?

Peronism was always a movement that united political sectors. However, some views suggest that it is not "truly Peronist ".

President of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez with Cristina Kirchner

There are several criticisms that the current Argentine government has aroused against its political position. / Photo: AP Photo

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: ¿Es peronista el actual gobierno argentino?

The 2019 elections warned that, after 4 years, the Peronist government was once again taking power from the Argentine State. Appealing to the unity of the different sectors of the vast political spectrum, the formula of Alberto Fernández - Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was designated to defeat the ruling coalition, headed by then-president Mauricio Macri.

However, after a few months, and having a pandemic in between, several criticisms began to emerge from the political sphere. For example, the Diario Jornada commented that the former Secretary of Internal Commerce, Guillermo Moreno, mentioned that the current president, Alberto Fernández, is doing “absolutely nothing” of what Néstor Kirchner did at the time, distancing him from the classic Peronist vision.

Although this may come as a surprise to many people, some visions anticipated that this could happen. For example, the Al Navío website warned that Alberto Fernández's Peronism "does not resemble that of Cristina Kirchner", much more associated with the idea imposed by Juan Domingo Perón several decades ago. Let's see, then, what is happening in political matters in the Argentine State.

Is the government of Alberto Fernández completely Peronist?

The first thing to say is that Peronism is a really broad movement. This allows, for example, that there are ideas more associated with progressivism or conservatism, since it manages to join several sectors within the same political line, so it is really difficult to categorize it in a simple definition.

However, we can shed a little light on this matter. The Milenio website highlights that Peronism is the “most important political current in Argentina”, characterizing itself as a movement based on the “national and popular”, defending industrialization, a strong state and its own productive economy.

However, contrary to what many think, it is not about the left or the right, but instead it is betting on a third position. This generates that, within political activity, there are Peronists who decide to become the opposition when they notice changes within what they consider to be the "essence" of the party, something that is happening with the current government of Alberto Fernández.

For example, the El País website highlights that there was a “wave of criticism of Alberto Fernández from Kirchnerism”. That is, some leaders criticize his agreements in the midst of the pandemic with some sectors of the opposition, as is the case with the head of government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, forcing different consensuses. Therefore, faced with this situation, we saw that the social leader Juan Grabois, more associated with the wing of the current vice president, said he was "disenchanted" with the Government, adding that the protagonist continues to be Cristina Kirchner.

Another of the unexpected criticisms occurred with former president Eduardo Duhalde, who, according to the newspaper Page 12, spoke of a possible “coup d'état”, since there is a kind of tiredness on the part of society in the face of government decisions that, from their perspective, could generate a “civil war”, ending without elections in 2021 and that could weaken the current government. 

Also read: Is the Argentine revolution coming from the right party?

This implies that, for example, the Radio Perfil website mentions that Alberto Fernández is the “first Peronist who fears the street”, since there are massive protests that express their disagreements with many of the policies taken by the current government, both in economic and judicial matters and with the quarantine itself. Thus, while Peronism has always been characterized by "winning the street," it seems that this time it is losing it.

However ... is the government of Alberto Fernández Peronist? The first thing we can say is that the president himself revealed, in an interview conducted by Perfil, that he feels more like  "a son of the hippie culture than of the twenty Peronist truths." Therefore, the most orthodox sectors within Peronism conceive it as a progressive model, a priori incompatible with many of the decisions it should make.

As we mentioned, in the elections the idea was "to return to be better", betting on a unit, generating consensus to beat Mauricio Macri at the polls. In discursive terms, it is a line on which it continues to bet, given that, as mentioned by the Télam news agency, the president “appealed to unity” during the acts of leaders, demonstrating his intention to continue with the same line.

However, the fragility of the health and economic situation, as well as the general exhaustion of many sectors of the opposition, show that there is pressure against the State. For this reason, the Pacourondo Agency website believes that "there is no place for social democracy," but that it is time for Peronism, since the economy cannot be wavered. Will the government be able to satisfy the political demands of the opposition and also of the ruling party? At the moment, it seems like a very complicated task with no room for errors.