A major electoral defeat for Argentina’s first family has upended the country’s politics and thrown the future of the policies of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and her husband into doubt.
Nestor Kirchner, the former president who handed the reins of power to his wife in 2007, resigned as head of the Peronist Party on Monday, following a mid-term election rout.
The Kirchners lost their majority in the 72-member Senate, where they will now be forced to build an alliance in order to continue governing, and shed seats in the lower Chamber of Deputies as well.
President Kirchner, at a rare post-election press conference, said her party and its allies now “must negotiate and reach consensus” with other blocs.
“The government is going to require an exercise in consensus and agreements in order to govern, but building consensus also depends on the other parties,” she said.
Kirchner said her seats dropped to 35 from 37 in the Senate, where her allies also shrank by two. And in the 256-member lower house her lawmakers dropped eight seats, to 107 from 115, not counting allies from other parties.
But the 56-year-old leader insisted she had no plans to shake up her Cabinet, other than to replace Graciela Ocana, who resigned her post as health minister.
“I don’t see the need to make changes in the Cabinet because of the election results,” Kirchner said.
Nestor Kirchner was soundly defeated in Buenos Aires Province, where 40 percent of Argentina’s voters live, by rival Francisco De Narvaez, who represents a strain within the Peronist movement that favors a return to neoliberal ideas.
The ex-president said his decision to resign was “irreversible” and called on his running mate, governor of Buenos Aires Province Daniel Scioli, to “take on the challenge of assuming control of the party,” official news agency Telam reported.
The Kirchners were defeated in the capital and Buenos Aires Province, in major provinces including Santa Fe, Cordoba and Mendoza, and even in their stronghold, Santa Cruz. The pair had built their political success on Argentina’s return to growth after the 2001-2002 economic crisis, but had suffered amid the country’s current financial downturn.
Economists say Argentina is entering a recession, despite government figures that suggest otherwise.
Kirchner’s opponent De Narvaez, a wealthy tycoon who spent millions on his campaign, boasted on Monday that “we have turned a page in Argentine history.”
“A new history will dawn in the life of every Argentine,” he said.
But even with the opposition winning 70 percent of the vote, it remains sharply divided between right-leaning Peronists, Social Democrats and small leftist parties.
Ricardo Alfonsin, a center-right opposition leader who won a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, praised the performance of an alliance between center-right and center-left liberal politicians.
“We have now become the main opposition force,” the son of former Argentine president Raul Alfonsin said.
The elections, in which half of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and a third in the Senate were in play, produced some clues about the future of Argentine politics.
Former Formula One driver Carlos Reutemann, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri and Vice President Julio Cobos now all appear to be potential presidential contenders in 2011.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent