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Argentina To Elect New Evita – Or Is It Hillary?

From McClatchy Newspapers:

Argentina’s first lady and presidential candidate Senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (R) is embraced by President Nestor Kirchner during the closing campaign rally in La Matanza, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires October 25, 2007.

Argentina expects president to keep role even after wife takes office

By Jack Chang, McClatchy Newspapers Fri Oct 26

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — With first lady Sen. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner widely expected to win Sunday’s presidential vote, the big question for many Argentines is what role her husband, the current president, will play over the next four years…

Practically every poll released on the eve of elections shows her winning more than 40 percent of Sunday’s vote and leading the second-place candidate, former legislator Elisa Carrio, by more than 20 percentage points, enough to avoid a runoff vote.

Yet no one expects the president to fade away once his wife takes office.

Walter Curia, who wrote a best-selling biography of the president, said he thought that Kirchner would still call the shots in his wife’s government and possibly run for the top job again after her term ended, as Argentine law permits.

Since Kirchner was elected governor of an out-of-the-way Patagonian province in 1991, the couple has made all important public decisions together, Curia said, although Kirchner has always been given the final say.

“I see no sign that anything will change if Cristina wins Sunday,” Curia said. “Even in his wife’s government, the final decision will still be Kirchner’s.”

Political analyst Carlos Fara predicted that Kirchner will play a supporting role— but key— to his wife by weeding out dissent within their fractured Peronist Justicialist Party…

Fara said Kirchner’s plan was to build loyalty to his wife and himself within the party…

“Kirchner will try to take control of the party structure so that there won’t be any more rebellions within it,” he said. “He’ll build political protection for his wife.”

While Kirchner has revealed little about his plans after he leaves office, many here say his ever-present role in his wife’s campaign set a pattern.

Among other measures, he lent her government airplanes that took her to meet leaders around the world, and he freed millions of dollars in public money for aid programs weeks before Election Day. He also ordered Argentina’s government-run television channel to broadcast many of his wife’s political rallies while ignoring her challengers’ events.

That provided ammunition for opposition candidates, who’ve slammed him as misusing state goods to support his wife’s candidacy…

Is it just me, or is this yet another election (like Daniel Ortega’s) that our watchdog media avoided telling us about until it was practically a fait accompli?

But it sure sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

And how beautiful it is to contemplate that our national politics now so closely mirror those of tinhorn dictatorships like Peronista Argentina.

Though, to be fair, this was an odious custom even in our own country, in regional backwaters like dogpatch Arkansas.

Not that long ago it was accepted practice for the wife of a (ahem) beloved figure to take over for him after his death or imprisonment.

But one had hoped we had outgrown such an insipid, even dangerous practice. But obviously we have not.

Still, what has become of our once great republic? Do we really want some kind of trailer park monarchy?

What would our Founding Fathers have thought?

Or should we ask their wives?

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, October 27th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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