Argentina’s organized labour, picket organizations and social groups that have played a crucial role in support of the two Kirchner presidencies (2003/2011) are discontent, and growingly vocal, about their disappointment with President Cristina Fernandez lists of candidates to legislative and provincial posts in the coming October general election.
“Everybody is mad; it’s common, it happens when the lists of candidates are finally closed, but this time…” the head of the cabs union Omar Viviani was quoted in the Buenos Aires media.
He is one of the closest aides of Hugo Moyano, teamsters’ union boss and head of the all powerful CGT, labour organization.
In the list of candidates to the Lower House in representation of the province of Buenos Aires, only figures the son of Moyano, Facundo, but at the bottom.
For months organized labour through its undisputed leader had been lobbying strongly and publicly for further incorporations of union labour representatives in the official lists of Cristina Fernandez Victory Front.
“Many comrades had other expectations, they expected more names in the lists, but this disappointedly did not happen. We had comrades who in the original lists figured in places two and three, but were wiped out or offered places they could not accept”, said Viviani.
However Viviani does not anticipate a rupture with the government of Cristina Fernandez who is running for re-election next October 23.
“You can’t think of the government without the CGT (organized labour) the same way you can’t think of CGT without the government. Nobody can deny this model supported workers, we recovered the right to discuss salaries and conditions; even when other demands are pending, and will always be in the CGT agenda” added Viviani.
Another spokesperson for Moyano was equally explicit about the lack of labour representatives in the electoral lists and so far “no explanations why such decisions”.
“It is clear that the labour movement has not been taken into account to defend the model in Congress. I don’t think that is how you treat those who have defended the model, when many of those named in the lists were at the other side of the road not so long ago”, said Julio Piumato who is union leader for staff at the Judicial branch.
However, in spite of the audacity of the move shacking out union leaders and some traditional urban bosses who scare away middle of the road voters, political analyst Joaquin Morales Solá points out that Cristina Fernandez has chosen a path not absent of surprises.
Particularly since the political machine from the province of Buenos Aires and its approximately 140 mayors and grass roots chiefs have a tight grip over voters and can decide an election, are not pleased with what happened. They certainly had their own batch of names to include in the official lists.
“They praise Cristina’s government in public but privately they say and promise horrible things”, said a reliable source.
“Didn’t Peronism deserve a better treatment?” is a repeated complaint.
This in practical electoral terms means that in June Mrs Kirchner seem unbeatable but she still has four months ahead. And what seems clear also is that the President must win in the first round October 23.
If there is a run off for the presidential seat, there won’t be any incentive for the hard rock Peronist organization, after having secured their seats in the first round and suffered humiliation in the making of the lists to come out in support of Mrs Kirchner.