Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Argentine voters foil attack on presidential term limits

It’s not only here. Voters internationally love term limits and resent self-interested attempts of would-be tyrants to circumvent them.

The latest example: Voters in Argentina last weekend gave a resounding thumbs down to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her plans to keep power by abolishing presidential term limits.

In the face of deteriorating economic conditions, Fernandez made her bid for 'consitutional reform' last year with all the usual pitches of professional politicians, including the need for continuity and her irreplaceable wisdom and experience.

The people weren’t fooled. In November 2012, a demonstration outside the pink presidential palace at the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets. Their grievances were legion, but the unifying theme was opposition to the president’s arrogant grasp for power in what should be – and will be – her last two years in office.

Then, in the Aug. 11 primary elections, Fernandez's ruling party garnered only 26 percent of the nationwide vote. This is less than half of the percentage with which she was re-elected two years ago and five points less than her party's showing in the last mid-term elections. It is believed the results end any hopes of nixing constitutional term limits before the October general elections.

But the lust for power is a compulsion that demands obedience. “We're going to keep deepening this transformation, because it's our obligation," Fernandez said at a post-election rally.