BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Alberto Fernandez has pulled off one thing of a coup. The fixer and confidante of presidents, little recognized exterior Argentine political circles simply half a yr in the past, took on the highest job in Latin American’s No. three financial system on Tuesday.
The average Peronist, a fan of Bob Dylan, after whom he named his brown-and-white collie, now wants to tug off a fair harder maneuver with the nation gripped by default fears, inflation and flat-lined progress.
Fernandez, who beat out the conservative incumbent Mauricio Macri in an October election, was sworn into workplace on Tuesday, a meteoric rise for the college professor who was introduced as a candidate in Might by his higher-profile working mate, ex-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
“We all know we will likely be touring a slim, complicated, difficult path the place there’s room neither for magic dogmas nor for sectarian infighting,” Fernandez mentioned in his speech to Congress.
Individuals who know Fernandez say his negotiating expertise honed over years as a political operator will likely be key.
“He’s an clever man, with good coaching, who listens, who dialogues, who defends his perspective,” mentioned former International Minister Jorge Taiana, who between 2003 and 2008 served in the identical cupboard as 60-year-old lawyer and trainer Fernandez.
“I by no means noticed him have a dogmatic place.”
Past the election, the nation is ready for complicated discussions with its collectors, together with the Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF), after a crash within the peso foreign money left Argentina on the sting of default as reserves sank and borrowing prices jumped.
That crash was sparked satirically by Fernandez’s personal, surprising landslide victory in a major election vote towards Macri in August, as buyers apprehensive about his populist working mate and query marks over Fernandez’s personal coverage views.
TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’
Fernandez’s flexibility has helped him unite the nebulous Peronist political flank, his gentler, man-of-the-people picture serving to lure middle-ground voters apprehensive in regards to the return of the divisive Fernández de Kirchner.
He had continued to supervise exams till not too long ago on the College of Buenos Aires, the place he teaches.
In a mirrored image of his chameleon-like mutability, Fernández has been each a lawmaker for Buenos Aires in a celebration of neo-liberals, a Peronist chief of employees and a part of the Radical Civic Union celebration within the 1980s.
That’s mirrored in an eclectic style in music. Behind the austere mustache and formal go well with he wears as a legislation college professor, Fernandez hides a rock-loving musician who turns to the guitar each time Argentine politics let up.
He’s a “music freak, a really cultured man,” Argentine rock pioneer Lito Nebbia – an idol and later a pal – mentioned of the Peronist candidate in a radio interview this yr.
Requested about his ideological influences, Fernández mentioned in a radio interview that they included extra apparent political thinkers comparable to former President Juan Peron, the ideological father of Peronism, but additionally a string of South American and North American musicians.
“However there’s additionally numerous Nebbia, Bob Dylan, Joan Báez, and El Flaco (Luis Alberto) Spinetta,” mentioned Fernandez, who as a 16-year-old teenager grew his mustache in honor of Nebbia and even took guitar classes with him.
An enormous query for a lot of – buyers, farmers and voters – has been how burnished are Fernandez’s Peronist credentials? Their considerations vary from fears he might be a puppet for extra excessive “Kirchnerist” views to worries he is not Peronist sufficient.
Peronism is a broad political motion that spans throughout the political spectrum however is grounded in an thought of “social justice.”
“I do not like him. In his head he is not a Peronist. Alberto’s economics are neo-liberal,” Guillermo Moreno, a former secretary of commerce who was within the cupboard with Fernandez for years, mentioned earlier this yr.
Fernández, raised in a household of legal professionals, has labored inside Peronism for years. He was chief of employees below husband-and-wife pair Néstor Kirchner from 2003-2007, and the primary yr of Cristina Fernández, who dominated from 2007 till 2015.
Fernandez can also be a fanatic for Argentinos Juniors soccer membership, whose stadium stands a couple of blocks from the home the place he grew up within the Villa del Parque neighborhood of Buenos Aires.
The connection together with his working mate can also be complicated. He was sharply important of Cristina Fernández throughout her administration, which noticed the introduction of populist insurance policies together with foreign money controls, in addition to limits and taxes slapped onto farm imports.
The pair reconciled final yr and have used their variations to nice impact to comb again into the Casa Rosada presidential palace. Whether or not it lasts is one other query.
“Till the (mid-term) elections in 2021 there will likely be no issues, the alliance will likely be maintained. However I do not know what’s going to occur in 2023,” a supply near Fernández de Kirchner informed Reuters, referring to the following basic election.
For now, Fernandez is basking within the glow of main what was a fragmented Peronist opposition again to energy.
“Alberto is simply the most effective candidate,” deputy José Luis Gioja, chief of the Peronist Justicialist Get together (PJ), informed Reuters. “He drastically helped the unity of the PJ and the nation’s progressives.”
(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Enhancing by Adam Jourdan, Daniel Wallis, Jane Wardell and Dan Grebler)
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