PopeWatch: Peronists Out


For the first time since 1999 Argentina has a non-Peronist President:


Argentina’s election on Sunday represented the starkest choice the country has faced since the authoritarian era of Juan and Evita Peron began in the 1940s. The seven-point victory of center-right candidate Mauricio Macri may herald a real shift towards more sensible economics and less anti-U.S. policies in Latin America.


Defeated Peronist candidate Daniel Scioli was a hand-picked defender of the interventionist economics of his party’s retiring President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner.



In a recent TV interview, Scioli summed up the differences between him and Macri simply: “I defend the role of the state and he defends the role of the market.” He accused Macri, a leading businessman and mayor of Buenos Aires, of representing policies of “savage capitalism” that would devastate the poor.


Argentina’s voters have often fallen for such rhetoric, but not this year. The record of Kirchner and her Peronist party was a disaster and not easily ignored. As The Economist magazine put it:



Fernández has hoarded power and suppressed dissent. She has bent the central bank to her will, muzzled the government’s statistics institute and bullied the media. She has tried, less successfully, to suborn the independence of the judiciary. . . . The country is in danger of running out of reserves; the budget deficit this year is likely to be 6% of GDP; inflation is estimated at 25%; and growth is absent.

Go here to read the rest.  When he was Cardinal of Buenos Aires, the Pope often tangled with Kirchner over moral issues such as gay marriage and abortion.  However, since his election as Pope, he has clearly embraced Peronist economics.  Will its rejection in his homeland have any impact on the Pope?  Doubtful.  When it comes to economics the Pope believes what he believes and he seems impervious to facts that contradict those beliefs.

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  1. I don’t follow the politics or evangelical efforts of other countries too closely, but can’t help but wonder if this sift may be due to a loosening of the Catholic Church over the people, and people–“the poor” opting for Evangelical Christianity, which seems to me to be less hostile to free market forces than the Church does. Protestantism is growing in S. America.
    The Pope may want a “poor Church for ‘the poor’,” but it has been my observation that “the poor” do not want to be poor. I know I am tired of hearing how evil my family is.

  2. The opposition retains control of the legislature, so he likely will not be able to initiate any serious reforms and one can expect the Peronists et al to be refractory regarding the budget deficit. Some regulatory changes might be feasible, and a restabilizaiton of prices at the cost of a recession (provided Argentina’s bond issues are not eschewed by the market).

  3. The Church has been fairly weak in Uruguay and Argentina for some time. I do not think that’s a driver here. Over the years, only Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and Mexico have had Christian Democratic parties with a durable electoral base, and, if I understand correctly, the dispositions re policy of the Peruvian and Mexican parties are dissimilar to Francis’ prejudices.

  4. Things will not change in Argentina for the better until the people there throw out Peronism and work to develop a market based economy. Nor will they change for the better until they stop beliving the government can give them what they want.

    Subsititue the Democrat Party for Peronism and you can be talking about the United States.

  5. I would agree Art Deco about Peru, except that the politics there is so Macguffinized and tribal (sometimes literally) that the constant policy repositionings of the political class seem to bother few.

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