Appealing to social networks thousands of Argentines Thursday evening took to the streets of the country’s major cities to protest some of the latest measures from the government of President Cristina Fernandez including the re-re-election plans and the increasing restrictions to the purchase of dollars.
“NO to re-re-election” said the signs carried by middle class protestors marching along the streets of Buenos Aires to the historic Plaza de Mayo next to Casa Rosada, Government House while thousands surrounded the presidential residence in Olivos, in the outskirts of the capital banging pots and telling the president eight years was more than enough.
The demonstrations were organized via social networks, with a few weeks anticipation, but the massive turnout surprised political parties and leaders from the opposition and the ruling coalition.
Other major marches were reported in Rosario next to the Flag Monument, Cordoba, Mendoza, Mar del Plata, Bariloche where people protested against “the re-re-election and reform of the Constitution,” ”to defend institutions, and the right of free speech” plus demanding punishment for the officials responsible for a score of train crashes and the high criminality rates.
The re-re-election initiative is sponsored by a group of Kirchnerite intellectuals and some lawmakers, governors, ministers and mayors who are described as fundamentalist supporters of Cristina Fernandez. Although she has made no indication of supporting the initiative, the president has not stopped the campaign.
Speaking from the northeast of the country at the opening of a textile factory for Lacoste in the province of San Juan, President Cristina Fernandez said that the current protests against her administration “don’t make me nervous and won’t make me nervous” and promised to keep working actively.
“No matter where I am, I will keep doing what I always did: working actively, because I don’t know anything else since I have done this all my life, work and political militancy” she said in a rally following the opening of the factory.
During the rally in San Juan groups of young militants called for the re-re-election and held signs allusive to another four years for the president.
Cristina Fernandez took office in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011 for a second four year period. However under the 1994 constitution she can’t bid for a third period and to reform the constitution needs a special majority in Congress of two thirds in both Houses which her coalition does not have.
Another middle class motive of protest are the impediments to purchase and hold dollars or any other currency, which the government alleges needs to pay the energy bill, honour foreign debt and to have a sufficient cushion of foreign reserves of at least 45 billion dollars in the Central bank.
More specifically in Greater Buenos Aires demonstrators marched to protest a wave of killings and violent crimes, (confirmed by police stats), which has everybody scared but also furious with the passivity of authorities and the growing audacity of the perpetrators.
October next year President Cristina Fernandez faces mid term election to renew half the Lower House and a third of the Senate. Political analysts doubt the president will repeat the support of her re-election in October 2011 when she managed 54.11% of votes cast and almost thirty points ahead of her runner up. She might then be exposed to growing instability from her own ranks as a new leader makes its way up. In the US they call it the ‘lame duck’ syndrome.