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Montevideo, September 30th 2022 - 00:57 UTC

 

 

Another crucial week

Monday, May 27th 2002 - 21:00 UTC
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With patience seemingly running out in spite of his official preaching of hope and tenacity, Argentine president Eduardo Duhalde faces another crucial week.

This Monday he meets the provincial governors who a month ago signed a 14 points agreement that would facilitate discussions with the International Monetary Fund, IMF, so far not implemented, and Congress will be considering legislation that is also part of the IMF deal but still has to be approved.

According to the agreement, the governors committed themselves, among other issues, to reduce provincial deficits by 60% so helping Mr. Duhalde to advance in talks to obtain the much needed financial aid from the IMF fro Argentina. The implementation would not take more that two weeks.

However a month later several of the main provinces are reluctant to comply, alleging the explosive social situation in their turf.

Congress is also scheduled this week to discuss amendments to bills that are too ample and vague, such as the "subversion act", which approved almost thirty years ago to combat Marxist guerrillas, is being interpreted against bankers, investors and businessmen. Not a very stimulating or serious fact when Argentina needs desperately to mend fences with the rest of the financial world, particularly after defaulting on a 141 billion US dollars foreign debt.

Although Mr. Duhalde was named president by the Legislative Assembly with the strong backing of the Peronist and Radical parties, the ruling coalition has difficulties in rounding the necessary majorities to approve the amendments.

No wonder there are strong rumors that Mr. Duhalde is running out of patience and more than once has considered resigning, be it to pressure Congress, or simply in mere frustration.

Even when the leaks are finally denied, nobody can prevent Mrs. Duhalde, --the President's only trusted ally--, from admitting "what's the use of insisting, when you can't even count with the promised political support".

With an IMF agreement still pending, (Mr. Duhalde is completing his fifth month in office), growing unemployment, recession, increasing social unrest, inflation in food prices, the Duhalde administration is looking ever weaker and a renewed "election fever" could not be so far.

Apparently Mr. Duhalde's loss of patience turned into frustration on his return from the Madrid summit where European leaders, and Latinamerican presidents, unanimously told the Argentine president that no aid of any kind was forthcoming unless an agreement with the IMF is reached.

Furthermore some European heads of government did not rule out a trade embargo if Argentina does not begin to consider ways to re schedule the defaulted foreign debt.

But on the other hand, a sixth president in just six months (De la Rúa, Puerta, Rodríguez Saa, Camaño, Duhalde) would simply and definitively establish Argentina in the bottom list of risk country rating next to Sudan, Nigeria.

Categories: Mercosur.

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