wk 3 - democracy course
Buenos Aires Travel Blog› entry 25 of 30 › view all entries
Five years later, an election was held to create a Constituent Assembly which modified the nation’s 1853 Constitution. While many Constitutional provisions remained the same, some were modified. Among these changes include new provisions for Presidential reelections and the abolition of the electoral college system in
With the exception of the immediate chaos following the 2001 economic crisis, during which time Fernando de la Rua fled the country and Eduardo Duhalde became interim President,
Presently, the President acts as the Head of Government and Head of State. In this capacity, he acts as the chief public representative, who embodies the values of
In addition to the Office of the President, Argentina has a bicameral Congress, the Congreso de la Nacion, composed of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. The Senate consists of 72 seats which are directly elected from each province and the city of
While this system is effective, our group has a few particular modifications, and they are as follows:
1. Extension of the President and Vice-President’s terms from four to six years.
The first modification would be an extension of the Executive term from four to six years, which was the law before the Constituent Assembly altered this provision in 1994. Also, we suggest abolishing the provision for a consecutive reelection; however, we suggest reelection after at least one term. Four years is too brief of a time for a single term, and it does not allow for effective policy-making and implementation. Campaigns are lengthy and expensive processes, the party’s primary concern during the first four years is a reelection. Hence, during the first term, the President´s policies tend to be designed to gain popular support for reelection than for effective decision-making. If the President was given the Office for six years, he has ample time to consider and implement effective policies, and without the possibility of a consecutive term, he will not be focused on reelection. Thus, he will spend more time representing and less time campaigning, and with the possibility of reelection after the following term, he has an incentive to leave a positive legacy of effective policies. Hence, the term increase and the elimination of consecutive terms would promote more efficient policy-making and
exercise of Presidential powers. However, with the possibility of future
reelection, the President has the desire to maintain a positive legacy without
spending too much time campaining.
2. A second round of voting should be required if the President does not obtain a 51% minimum.
This proposed modification is presented based on an analysis of Argentina’s tumultous political past. Over the last century, there have been numerous, sporadic shifts from democracy to authoritarian rule. Much of this instability was the result of military interventions which ousted Presidents in 1930, 1943, 1955, and 1976. Thus, the notions of legitimacy and stability in Argentina are vital because of its history of political insecurity. With a history of military coups, the people of Argentina need to feel secure in their leader, and this legitimacy would be strengthened if the President was elected by a majority of the people (Lambert). Hence, we propose that if a candidate does not obtain 51% of the votes, there must be a second round of voting.
3. Abolish the closed-list system and enact a preferential system with a single-transferable vote (STV) ballot.
Argentina’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, is directly elected via a closed-list proportional-representation system. Our group feels that because the voter is only selecting a party and not an individual candidate, this system creates strong party affiliations, and within Argentina, a single political group, the Peronists, dominate politics. The Peronist movement is an extremely broad and largely undefined political group, which acts as an umbrella for various factions of different names, including the Frente para la Victoria (Front for Victory or FV) and the Partido Judicialista (Judicialist Party or JP) and their allies.
For example, the Peronist Party’s domination was evident in last year’s elections. In October of 2005, the FV obtained 69 of the 127 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The remainder of the Judicialist Party received 11 seats, and the Union Civica Radical (Radical Civic Union or UCR) received only 19 seats. Clearly, we see the dominant influence of Peronism with a win of 80 out of 127 seats, or approximately 63% of the seats (Ministry of Interior).
Also, the closed-list system fuels power to the political leaders who determine the order of the closed-lists. This poses a dilemma in a nation riddled with a history of political corruption because it encourages misrepresentation and a lack of transparency within the electoral process.
In order to remedy the inaccurate representation, strong Peronist influence, and lack of adequate opposition to the dominant Peronist party, the closed-list system needs to be abolished, and the electoral system should be replaced by a preferential system with a single-transferable vote ballot. A STV system would ensure that votes are for individual candidates and not for an entire party because it would allow the voters to rank their candidate choices, which places less emphasis on the party and more significance on the individual candidate. This method requires a candidate to achieve a minimum number of votes, or a quota, to be elected.
Also, this system would eliminate the notion of the “wasted vote”. The notion of the “wasted vote” means that all the votes that did not go to the winning candidate were lost, or wasted, because there is usually only one seat to fill. Hence, the voters feel that if they vote for the opposition of the dominant or favorite candidate, their vote is essentially wasted (Public International Law & Policy Group).
If this system were set up in a multi-member district, coalitions would begin to form between the smaller parties. In addition, since the voters are asked to rank their preferences, a stronger distinction between candidates will be necessary. Thus, the preferential system will encourage those groups falling under the Peronist umbrella to become more defined and independent, while enabling smaller groups to have greater representation. Hence, the transferred vote creates a more accurate representation of parties and prevents single-party domination.
Hence, we feel that the presidential system in Argentina better serves the populace than a parliamentary system. However, Argentina’s electoral system will become more efficient by increasing the President’s term in office, by mandating a 51% minimum vote, and by creating a single-transferable vote ballot.
Lambert, Maria. “Prospects for Political Stability in Argentina.” 08 June 2006 <http://www.smu.edu/ecenter/discourse/MariaLambert.htm>.
“Establishing a Stable Democratic Constitutional Structure in Iraq: Some Basic Considerations.” Public International Law & Policy Group. 2003. 07 June, 2006 <http://gtel.gatech.edu:2259/wps/pilpg01/pilpg01.pdf>.
Ministry of Interior. 07 June 2006 <htt://www.mininterior.gov.ar/elecciones/congreso_nac.asp>
“Overview of Latin American Electoral Systems.” Inter-American Dialogue. 07 June 2006 <http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Elecdata/systems.html>.
Argentina Business and Investment BREAKDOWN: A report on the investor-friendliness of a selection of common industries.
The energy sector has much potential in
Energy investment is high-risk in all of
There are positive and negative sides to investing in
Early last month, the WSJ painted a grim picture for
investment in Latin America, reporting that “Telecom
Our prediction: as
investors cautiously pull out of industries, specifically telecom, around Latin
America, they will move their money to
Real Estate is not a good industry to invest in right
now. Buy Low, Sell High. The economy is booming right now and prices
on real estate and houses will be higher than during a recession, which, with
Additionally, this market in
Do your research on select regions to find a promising one,
then pursue small-scale investment during an economic recession.
Tourism and Service
These are very important industries in
I enlisted the help of my friend Carlos, currently pursuing an MBA at UBA, from the residency to explore this important industry. His unquestioning (and quite astute, as we shall see) recommendation was Arcor, an industrial group that specializes in all manner of treats, chocolates, wafers, and other alimentos. Arcor remains a stable place for investors – relatively independent of market fluctuations compared to other commodities – due its varied export markets. Besides being “muy establecido en Argentina y Latin America,” Arcor’s website maintains that “exportamos nuestras propias marcas a 120 países, entre los que se encuentran los más exigentes del mundo: Estados Unidos, la Unión Europea, China, etc.” This stable environment provides a place for long-term investment, meaning larger returns for investors.
“What about soy?” I asked Carlos. He didn’t say it was a bad idea, but was not
as enthusiastic. Most importantly, soy
is extremely vulnerable to market fluctuations,
which are bound to bring the price of soy crashing down sooner or later. Secondly, soy robs the soil of all nutrients,
leaving the soil barren and infertile for years after a harvest. Though
Arcor is our top recommendation for investment in