25 June 2009

Before the elections

It's only a few days to the legislative election, so this is a brief "state of the campaign" post. I'll refrain from emphasizing the appallingly low level of today's politics, if only because the post would turn into in a long, bitter rant if I tried to convey that.

First, my home district, Santa Fe. Here the senatorial race is the major one, because we have two great contenders: former two-time governor Carlos Reutemann, and Rubén Giustiniani, backed by current governor and former two-time mayor of Rosario Hermes Binner. Both candidates are already senators and both are sure to be reelected; the real issue is, first, who will win (even by one vote), and in a distant second place, which party will get the third senator.

Reutemann is a well-known, wealthy, conservative Peronist who for some reason (certainly not his charisma or his performance when in office) has consistently captured over a third of the vote in every election. Giustiniani is your typically neat low-profile militant of the very moderate (almost European-like) Socialist Party who ran (big mistake!) as candidate for the vice-presidency next to Elisa Carrió in 2007. Reutemann is playing the anti-Kirchnerist card, an attribute he earned by positioning himself against the ruling couple on the issue of Resolution 125, even though he barely did anything but raise his hand on command on all other issues. Since half the population of the province barely knows Giustiniani, until a few months ago Reutemann took his triumph for granted, but since governor Binner stepped into the campaign, Giustiniani has come close to his opponent, to the point that the predicted result is very close to a tie.

The leading candidates for the Chamber of Deputies are almost completely unknown; they're only getting votes because they'll be on the same paper ballot as their respective senators. Ironically, the only candidate everyone knows is the one heading for the distant third place: Agustín Rossi, by now politically disgraced in his own home turf due to his complete, unwavering submission to Néstor Kirchner.

In the Province of Buenos Aires, well... you have a contest of unscrupulous millionaires, a huge, impoverished clientele, well-oiled political machines with their filthy cogs obscenely in view and no-one doing anything about it, the government doing campaign for its party with state funds, the opposition wipping up the visceral hate for the Kirchners of the mostly right-wing citizenry, and no government proposals whatsoever except for "it's us or chaos". It's sleazy. So you'll forgive me if I refuse to take one more step into that crap.

Several problems with this election and with the system in general: first, the ballots printed by each party with their own candidates (instead of a universal ballot where you have to select what you want), which leaves ample space for fraud and many borderline illegal practices; second, the use of (linear) proportional representation in a country like Argentina, with a ridiculously skewered population distribution, which makes it possible for a party to win an election just by concentrating their efforts on a few hundred square kilometers crammed full with very poor, very influentiable people; third, the lack of political awareness of most of the citizens, understandably tired of anything to do with politics, which makes it easy for opportunists to flourish and for the unscrupulous to "disappear in the crowd".

I feel fortunate that I inhabit a district where, at least, the choices are clear-cut and the fight has not turned dirty beyond words. I won't vote for Reutemann, the love child of Carlos Menem and completely deprived of ideas besides his own plans to maintain influence; I won't vote for Rossi, a mouthpiece of the Executive Branch who would bring its own province to its knees to further the Kirchnerist agenda of centralized control; I'll vote for Giustiniani, who has some ideas I like and belongs to a structured political project that's going in the (general) right direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.