Buenos Aires Herald
November 15, 2012
By James Neilson
What support gov’t still has could melt away very quickly
Ever since last week’s huge, but remarkably peaceful and, on the whole, good-humoured, demonstrations warned the country’s political establishment that the public mood was changing fast, Cristina and her supporters have been doing their best to downplay their importance. As those who spoke up pointed out, the demands being made by the thousands of people who strolled towards the Obelisk, many of them carrying hand-made signs printed with derisive slogans, did not add up to a coherent political programme and no opposition party seemed to be in a position to take advantage of the widespread discontent. What is more, in other democratic countries it is by no means unusual to see millions taking to the streets to protest against measures taken by an elected government. In Spain, Greece, Italy and France, it happens almost every week. Nobody thinks they will have any lasting effect.
But Argentina is different. Its political institutions are far weaker than their equivalents in southern Europe. There are no real parties, just a mishmash of competing factions, most of them led by one particular person with what he or she believes are suitably progressive points of view, that rearrange themselves according to the circumstances. As for Cristina’s government, it has broken so many rules that, should an overwhelming majority turn against it, making a case for impeachment would be wonderfully easy.
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