The prosecutor’s accusation Diego Luciani against the vice president precipitated a political conflict in five dimensions.

    First, in legal terms, it was a forceful accusation, but it does not imply any decision by itself. The sentence of first instance could be between the end of the current year and the first months of the next. In turn, the second instance sentence could be in 2024, already in the next presidential term. Then comes a third instance, which is that of the Chamber of Cassation, and then that of the Court, which would be the final decision, in the following presidential period (2027-2031). It is a long period in which many things can happen and that poses an uncertain panorama. What does seem clear is that the accusation of Luciani can’t go out for Cristina Kirchner a situation that prevents her from being a candidate in 2023. Beyond the forcefulness of the accusation, legal debates are opened such as the one raised by former senator Miguel Pichetto, leader of the Justicialist sector that integrates Together for Change, who raised his doubts that Cristina’s role as “head of an illicit association” can be proven. Comparisons of the trial against Cristina with that of the Military Juntas of 1985 They aim to argue that the highest level of administration cannot ignore what their dependents do. There are different cases for alleged irregularities and tax evasion, where a demonstration of guilt is simpler, since Cristina has almost a dozen cases open, and with respect to some of them there will be resolutions by the end of the year, although not on the Deep inside the affair.

    Secondly, as of Monday, August 22, an accelerated reactivation of the political “polarization” between Kirchnerism and anti-Kirchnerism was thus generated. For almost two decades this has been the axis of Argentine politics, which, seen in perspective, has been increasing and not decreasing. The reaction against the accusation of prosecutor Luciani has just confirmed it. Kirchnerism is not identified with Peronism in historical terms. General Juan Domingo Perón was never a reference for Cristina Kirchner and her husband. They preferred political identification with the continuity of the brief government of Héctor J. Cámpora and the actions of the Montoneros organization, that is, identifying with the Peronist left-wing insurgency of the 1970s, which clashed violently with the unions and other traditional structures of justicialism. Faced with the accusation, the vice president sought and achieved the identification of Peronism-Kirchnerism. The Kirchnerists mobilized quickly and fervently, while the “pure” Peronists opted for silence. In the opposition, a reaction was generated against the vice president and a general support for the request for the prosecutor’s conviction. The differences in the judicial appreciation were minimal, like that of Pichetto.

    Within a week of the accusation, the incidents that took place in front of Cristina’s home precipitated the division within the opposition. The most relevant was betweenthe president of the PRO, Patricia Bullrich, and the Head of the Buenos Aires Government, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, which was public and strong. The first questioned the withdrawal of the Buenos Aires police from the vice president’s home, arranged by the Buenos Aires government after an agreement with Kirchnerism. The second refuted her in harsh terms, accusing her of being “functional” to Cristina. Former President Macriin turn, opted for silence, avoiding public support for Rodriguez Larreta. Within the Buenos Aires ruling party there were also divisions regarding the management of the police, but they were not open. In radicalism, senator Alfredo Cornejo, head of the opposition interbloc, condemned the Kirchnerist mobilization in terms similar to those of Patricia Bullrich, while other sectors of radicalism opted for silence. It should be noted that the interblock of Deputies of Together for Change called for the political trial of President Alberto Fernández for his threatening statements regarding the death of prosecutor Nisman. He did so with one exception, that of the radical Facundo Manes, thus demonstrating almost total unity. As for Javier Milei, he ratified his strategy, choosing to attack both parties to the conflict, and in particular the Head of Government of Buenos Aires.

    The failed attack on the vice president on Thursday September 1 at night showed that the climb could end in the worst way.

    Third point: the conflict also escalated to the institutional level, confronting the Executive and Judicial powers. This was a direct consequence of the escalation of political polarization. President Fernández automatically aligned himself with the questioning of Justice made by the vice president through social networks. Along the same lines, various officials of the Executive, such as the Foreign Minister and the Ministers of the Interior and Justice, manifested themselves. The most radicalized sectors of Kirchnerism, such as the one led by Luis D’Elía, They called for cutting off the routes throughout the country until the Supreme Court resigns. It should be remembered that this leader, before Monday, August 22, had become a harsh critic of the vice. It was not the only change in this direction in the area of ​​the Front of All. The President took on a criticism of the partiality of the Justice, taking as manifestation the accusation of Luciani. To this he added the comparison of this official with what happened with prosecutor Nisman, whom he said had committed suicide, contrary to what he publicly stated in 2015, when he stated that he had been murdered. Both the Association of Magistrates and the Association of Prosecutors strongly defended the prosecutor, harshly questioning the President’s statements. The opposition as a whole supported the position of these associations and condemned the comparison of the prosecutors Luciani and Nisman.

    Fourth, the dynamics of the political and institutional conflict have descended into the public space, evidencing a dangerous escalation. The episodes that took place on Saturday, August 27, in front of Cristina’s home in the City of Buenos Aires put it in evidence. On the morning of that day, mobilizations in support of the vice president began with varying degrees of organization and spontaneity. None of them was massive or massive. The same thing happened in other parts of the City, where the events had a high political impact due to the place where they took place and the role of the political protagonists. A march to the home of the vice president, whose surroundings have been occupied by her militants since Monday the 22nd, generated strong conflicts. The paradox was that the Minister of the Interior himself led the march that collided with the Buenos Aires police. The incidents were not minor: twelve police officers were injured and the fences around the vice president’s home were overturned. The repression with hydrant cars left no injuries and four protesters were arrested, who were released that same day. An agreement between the Buenos Aires government and Kirchnerism led to the withdrawal of the police and hours later the vice president spoke from an improvised stage to her militants, thanking them for their support and urging them to return home, which they did. But on Sunday they returned to the place, which led the Buenos Aires government to denounce a breach of the agreement. Meanwhile, politically, Cristina regrouped all the ruling party behind its political centrality and the economic adjustment of Minister Sergio Massa it went into the background, although surely for a short time.

    Fifth point: although less visible, the conflict also has an international face. For Cristina, what happens on the last Sunday of October in the second round of the Brazilian election will be decisive. It is that it will seek to present itself as the Argentine version of the triumphs of Boric in Chile, Petro in Colombia and Lula in Brazil. That is to say, the expression of the return of Latin American “progressivism”. He has received expressions of solidarity from the presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. Also from the Puebla Group, which is made up of a group of leaders of said political orientation, including Dilma Rousseff and Jose Mujica, among others. In Europe, the representatives of the anti-globalization left, such as Melenchon in France and Iglesias in Spain, have shown solidarity with her. But a victory for Lula would also allow Cristina to present herself as a “victim” of judicial manipulation to prevent her candidacy, as happened to Lula four years ago. In this scenario, an eventual candidacy of the vice president would gain political logic. But she will only be a candidate if she has a real chance of winning, which is not easy given the economic situation.

    Concluding, the accusation of the Prosecutor Luciani It took place on Monday, August 22, and the incidents in front of Cristina’s house only five days later, on the 27th. And the attack against her, four days later. This implies that the crisis has gathered speed, when there are still 16 months to go until the presidential election and both inflation and the exchange rate gap resist the stabilization that Massa wants to achieve.

    * Director of the Center for Studies Union for the New Majority

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