Argentina election date change?

Update: boz notes that the bill to change the dates has passed.

So why are Argentina’s leaders proposing to move the date of legislative elections from October to June? The explanation in Prensa Latina somehow fails to satisfy:

Supporters claim the ballot in June will escape the distress of an election drive, bring the date closer to the provincial elections, while cutting expenses and keep voters´ interest.

These are the midterm elections, halfway through term of current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Or a little earlier than halfway if her proposal becomes law.

The elections will renew half the Chamber of Deputies–is Argentina the only country in the world still not to renew in full its first or sole chamber at each election?–and a third of the Senate. (More detail: in the first chamber that’s half the seats in every province–plus or minus one in case of odd number of seats–and all three senate seats in one third of the provinces. Or at least I think I got that right.)

6 thoughts on “Argentina election date change?

  1. Why does Argentina have such a bizarre constitutional system where half the lower house is renewed every 2 years?

    Why wasn’t this reformed back when they had a constitutional assembly in 1994 or 1996?

    Is this democratic that Argentina has where half the lower house is renewed every 2 years? Isn’t the will of the people thwarted, and doesn’t this increase the power of the President vis a vi Congress.

    I heard that they was plans to convert Argentina from a Presidential System to a Parliamentary a few years ago? Is this true? I heard nothing about it.

  2. Madrid newsdaily “El País” ran an excellent article two weeks ago on what may be the actual motivations behind bringing forward the date of Argentina’s mid-term elections.

    At any rate, I’ve just updated my website’s Argentina page to note the election date change. Also, Argentina’s National Electoral Chamber (CNE) finally published complete, definitive results of the 2007 general election: the full report is available as a 6 MB PDF file here, and I’ve updated the figures on my website accordingly; the election results are nearly identical to those I had previously from the Interior Ministry’s website, but the electoral register totals change for several provinces.

    By the way, recent legislative elections in Argentina are characterized by another peculiarity: since the economic meltdown of 2001-02, political parties usually run in different coalitions in each province, and it’s become almost impossible to get meaningful nationwide party vote and seat totals; in fact, the CNE and the Interior Ministry haven’t even bothered to compile such figures for some time now.

    Finally, if I’m not mistaken in Argentina the word gorila (Spanish for “gorilla”), means anti-peronist when used in a political context. In fact, back in the 1960s one staunchly anti-peronist party had as its campaign slogan “Llene el Congreso de gorilas” (“Fill Congress with gorillas”).

  3. ” it’s become almost impossible to get meaningful nationwide party vote and seat totals”

    Having recently attempted this, I can only respond with “that’s for sure.”

    Thanks for the note re gorila.

  4. Re questions above on partial renewal:

    “Isn’t the will of the people thwarted,…”

    Arguably.

    “… and doesn’t this increase the power of the President vis a vi Congress.”

    I don’t see how. In fact, the opposite seems more the case, given that electing only half the congress reduces coattail effects.

    However, far more problematic from that point of view would be the lack of consistent national party and alliance formulas, as noted by Manuel. We might also add to the list the high malapportionment (both houses), and probably other factors that I am forgetting.

    Then again, given some of Argentina’s past history with strong presidents who claimed to represent “the will of the people,” one can perhaps understand why this might not currently be the biggest priority.

  5. Answering another question here:

    “I heard that they was plans to convert Argentina from a Presidential System to a Parliamentary a few years ago? Is this true? I heard nothing about it.”

    Parliamentary, no. However, there was a proposal late in Alfonsin’s term (1980s) to adopt some form of semi-presidentialism. (I have never seen an actual draft, so whether it was premier-presidential or not, I do not know.)

    And the 1994 constitution created a post of Cabinet Coordinator that is supposedly responsible to congress. However, because the rest of the cabinet is not, this is not even a baby step towards any sort of real hybrid, let alone parliamentarism.

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