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ARGENTINA | 15-06-2019 09:58

Jun 10th-16th: What We Learned This Week

Stories that caught our eye in the last seven days.

SEVEN TEAMS FOR PASO

The deadline for registering fronts for the August 11 PASO primaries and the October 27 general elections expired at midnight on Wednesday with seven fronts on the ballot. The frontrunners according to the opinion polls are the ruling Cambiemos coalition now rebranded as Juntos por el Cambio with President Mauricio Macri and Senator Miguel Angel Pichetto as the presidential ticket. The Alberto Fernández-Cristina Fernández ticket already announced almost a month ago will henceforth run under the label of Frente de Todos (with Sergio Massa’s Renewal Front now formally on board). Offering a third way (and in third place for now) is Federal Consensus 2030 with a ticket of former economy minister Roberto Lavagna and outgoing Salta Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey. The left is more united than usual while retaining its previous FIT (Frente de Izquierda y de Trabajadores) label with Nicolás del Caño and Romina del Plá as its ticket but Manuela Castañeira will be presenting a splinter candidacy for the New Movement to Socialism as the only female presidential hopeful with Eduardo Mulhall as her running-mate. The two rightwing alliances – Frente Despertar (Wake Up!) headed by economist José Luis Espert and Nos (Us) led by exmajor Juan José Gómez Centurión – have yet to name their running-mates. (See page 4)

TWO SURPRISE CHOICES FOR VEEP

Outgoing Senator Miguel Angel Pichetto (Peronist-Río Negro) had more than one foot out of the political door until Tuesday afternoon when he suddenly emerged as President Mauricio Macri’s surprise choice for running-mate. From having somebody of his own party (centre-right PRO) and his own district (the Federal Capital) in Gabriela Michetti, Macri will now be running alongside a politician from another province and from the opposite side of the floor in Juntos por el Cambio. The week also saw another vice-presidential definition with Salta Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey deciding to round out the Federal Consensus 2030 ticket (also rebranded from the previous Consensus 19) under Roberto Lavagna. (See page 5) THE WEEK IN CORRUPTION Former Public Works secretary José López, who was apprehended tossing bags containing some US$ nine million over a General Rodriguez convent wall in mid-2016, was sentenced to six years imprisonment on Wednesday and banned from public office for life. His wife was sentenced to two years but the nun receiving the bags was acquitted. The impounded money will be given to the Garrahan and Gutiérrez children’s hospitals. - The court trying Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for public works corruption during her presidency has cleared a third visit to her daughter Florencia in Cuba, on July 2-10 following previous trips on March 22-30 and April 20-30, despite the opposition of federal prosecutor Diego Luciani. The next hearing is scheduled for June 24.

ELECTIONS PAST AND FUTURE

Santa Fe, with the country’s third-largest electorate, elects its next governor tomorrow, as do San Luis and Tierra del Fuego. Last Sunday there was voting in five provinces with this year’s string of incumbent triumphs remaining unbroken. Four sitting governors – Peronists Juan Luis Manzur (Tucumán), Gustavo Bordet (Entre Rios) and Mariano Arcioni (Chubut) and Radical Gerardo Morales (Jujuy) – were all re-elected while the ruling Radicals won the PASO primary in Mendoza (See more on pages 6 and 7) SOLDIER BURIED ON ISLANDS IDENTIFIED: NO. 113 Malvinas Sovereignty Affirmation Day on Monday was marked by the announcement of the identification of a 113th soldier from the 1982 South Atlantic war previously buried in an NN (no name) grave in Darwin Cemetery on the disputed islands. (See page 12)

ANOTHER IDENTITY RECOVERED BY GRANDMOTHERS: NO. 130

Early in the week the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo announced that they had identified their 130th grandchild born to missing parents during the 1976-83 military dictatorship but he did not come forward until Thursday – Javier Matías Darroux Mijalchuk.

MAY INFLATION TOPS THREE PERCENT

Last month’s inflation eased from previous levels this year but still remains uncomfortably high at 3.1 percent, INDEC statistics bureau confirmed on Thursday. The government took comfort from a downward trend since April’s 3.4 percent but annual inflation remains high at 57.3 percent since May last year. The main culprit was prepaid health schemes at 5.1 percent but utility bills, transport and education were all above the average as was core inflation (3.2 percent). The key item of food and beverages weighed in lower at 2.4 percent but still higher than April. Nevertheless, the exchange rate stability in recent weeks leaves the government optimistic for the immediate future.

DOLLAR WATCH

The dollar stayed below the 45-peso level at 44.95 as it closed the week yesterday, more than a peso below the previous Friday (46.12), thus reflecting the so-called “Pichetto” factor or increased market confidence in President Mauricio Macri’s re-election chances after adding a Peronist wing to his presidential ticket. Meanwhile country risk closed the week at 851 points yesterday as against 947 points the previous Friday.

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