Argentina Mondays: October 23rd, 2017
Welcome to Argentine Mondays, your weekly update on what happened in Argentina while you were otherwise engaged over the weekend.
Sit back and enjoy while the week gets into gear!
The results are in
The much-awaited legislative elections took place yesterday across Argentina, with Congress seeing a reshuffle after a significant victory for the government alliance Cambiemos: it's the first time that a political force has obtained a majority in the five major electoral district since 1985. Six provinces showed different results to the PASO or primaries held back in August, including Salta and La Rioja — traditionally Peronist districts — conceding a surprise defeat to Cambiemos.
The new distribution of representatives in Congress means that several reforms put forward by the government may get the green light. Here's an Infogram on what the Lower House and the Senate will look like and here's a list of potential bills that might make headlines soon, including the 2018 national budget and tax reforms.
In the hotly contested senatorial race in the province of Buenos Aires, Cambiemos candidate Esteban Bullrich managed a 41.38% victory over former president Cristina Fernández de Kircher, who obtained 37.24%. Bullrich said that he "called her [...] but she didn't answer." They'll be seeing plenty of each other in the Senate.
Source: La Nación
In other Congress news
As a meeting is set to take place to decide whether or not Congress should vote for him to be stripped of his parliamentary privileges, former planning minister Julio de Vido has requested leave from the Lower House, where he is currently a representative, and has tendered his resignation as the head of the Energy Committee of the Lower House. De Vido is facing two requests for his “desafuero” from two judges regarding two separate legal cases: he is currently undergoing trial over the Buenos Aires railway tragedy of 2012 known as the “Tragedia de Once.”
Many of the electoral victories were celebrated without too much ebullience, however, due to the Santiago Maldonado case: on Friday evening, Maldonado's brother Sergio confirmed that the body found in the Chubut river last week was in fact Santiago. Authorities have also confirmed this, with over 50 experts present in the laboratory reaching an agreement, although there are certain tests that still need to be implemented to find out the full extent of what happened. So far, forensic scientists have concluded that there were no signs of violence by a third party.
Santiago Maldonado went missing on August 1st during the forceful eviction of a protest by the Mapuche indigenous tribe over a territorial dispute. His disappearance has made a big mark on Argentine society and overshadowed the elections, with many accusing the government of covering up circumstances surrounding the young tattoo artist’s death and suspicion around the actions of gendarmería (Border Patrol) during the protest.
Source: El Mundo
Economy: tidbits for Monday small-talk
As votes were being counted, YPF and Shell announced a new increase in petrol prices that will come into force as of this morning: there will be an average increase of 9.5 to 10%. It’s the third such increase this year and other oil companies are expected to follow suit.
The Argentine markets reacted positively to the overall Cambiemos victory with the dollar going down 14 cents to AR$17.63 and strong increases in Argentine company stocks such as Telecom Argentina (+5%).
What to look out for this week
If you were paying attention, you'll have seen that there will be a preliminary meeting on former planning minister Julio de Vido's plight on Tuesday (that’s at 16:00.) If that meeting approves an extraordinary session to vote for his parliamentary privileges to be rescinded, that could happen as soon as Wednesday, so stay tuned!
The increase in petrol prices isn't the only hit to your pocket set to take place: public transport, electricity, taxi fares and tolls may all see rises by the end of the year.
If knowledge is power, being informed helps you power through the morning. Or at least have a conversation or two.