Modifying the cabinet is intended to bring some relief and some fresh air to governments. The previous changes of Ministers of Alberto Fernández did not achieve the desired effect (Losardo, Frederic, Ginés, Trotta, Kulfas or Guzmán, among others). Of the new ones, it was Manzur, as chief of staff, who aroused the greatest expectation. However, he was unable to sustain that initial momentum over time. The arrival of Massa implies a different look, the approach and the dynamics with which the government was developed until now is modified.
The leaders of the Frente de Todos (Alberto, Cristina and Sergio) have recognized two fundamental issues with Massa’s appointment. First of all, that the root of the economic crisis is political and, secondly, that there is a conflict in the way disagreements are settled within the government.
Assuming these two issues, they have previously tried different recipes (which failed). They have tried changes in different ministries. After the PASO, with the incorporation of Mazur, Aníbal Fernández, Daniel Filmus or Julián Domínguez, they sought more political and communicational flow, but the expected results in handling the crisis were not achieved.
the weak president
Alberto Fernández was appointed to articulate the FdT in May 2019. The success of his campaign work led him to the presidency, but his two main functions were those of manage the power of others and moderate the positions of the governing coalition. At the same time he had to lead in a presidential country.
And things have happened recently, many things… Failed, the photo, a handling of the pandemic that was not positive in general (as in many of the world’s governments), constant swings in terms of foreign policy and meager economic results Two key issues were added: 1) The defeat in the PASO, in an internal chaos, with crossed declarations during the campaign; and 2) The agreement with the IMF without the endorsement of its own vice president and her sector.
His lack of reaction, the constant minimization of internal problems and some confrontations towards his vice were read internally as outbursts by a leader who was not… The consequence was a loss of internal legitimacy that affected his credibility and, therefore, any action that I wanted to start.
reproaches to the president
The governors ended up being key. They asked for a reaction based on a very harsh diagnosis that is summarized in 6 points, beyond the economic: 1) Presidential passivity, 2) Isolated measures without a comprehensive plan that shows certainty, 3) Disorder of own actors, 4) Victimization of the Government, 5) Sensation of disorientation in leadership and 6) Inaction of the Front in the face of the crisis.
And why now Massa?
Four reasons precipitated Massa’s path to the central role of the government and with ample power: 1) An unsustainable format in decision-making, 2) The economic abyss that generates a certain desperation before the imminence that “things get out of control” , 3) The 2023 electoral percentages, with very low numbers in the main figures of the FDT, and 4) The governors’ request for reaction.
More of the same?
Many predict that the arrival of Massa configures a kind of “more of the same” based on the fact that Alberto could not, neither Manzur, Scioli or Batakis. They believe that it would not be a question of names, but rather that Cristina does not accept the fiscal adjustment policies that are proposed to lower inflation and thus reverse part of the national economic crisis.
this time is different
Others believe that it is not about repeating the mechanism that did not work. Because the Tigrense is part of the initial trio of the FDT and with the very weak edge of the president, so it seems to be more of a binomial between Massa and Cristina, which exposes a different power relationship. more direct, in which consensus must appear as a means to achieve results. Sergio knows it and Cristina knows it, there is no longer room for distractions and smoke signals.
Cristina is the key and the key. It is she who has to validate the course at every step. She strategically she will let him drive because pragmatism is more important at this point, that is, it is better that she achieves results and then we will see.
Many assumed that Massa did not want to take on such a responsibility because it is better not to be exposed in such a delicate national context. However, there is a fact that marks the reason for the conviction of assuming such a responsibility now and that is that the surveys for 2023 show very low levels of confidence. What better opportunity than to straighten out destiny, achieve results and be the natural candidate for a renewed FdT? That’s the bet. It will depend on the results obtained.
The 3 variables to consider
Many wonder how we can evaluate the success or failure of the Massa administration. And there are 3 key variables to understand if it has managed to achieve the (some tacit) promised results: 1) The downward inflation rate, 2) The stable exchange rate and 3) The reduction of internal political tension.
The latter has two additional lines: that “the rags are washed inside” and that the vice president grants him some room for maneuver and does not expose it publicly in the face of dissent.
Some think that Cristina does not want things to go well for her and that is a mistake. Today the game is in the short term, the crisis is acute and the new coach needs to win some games. In this sense (only in this sense) nobody can be thinking about the elections. There is no 2023 without minimal results in the short term.
Important challenges are coming that will require making decisions: proposing a plan with concrete measures and not in an isolated way, correcting imbalances, managing tensions, obtaining internal support for what has been adopted, sustaining them in adversity, articulating the front and leading towards 2023.
He will be evaluated by inflation, the exchange rate in relation to the dollar and the level of confrontation with the vice president. These are not easy questions for any human. Before starting, he already received pressure from Grabois or Macri, but also support from governors such as Perotti and Bordet.
The final questions?
Will Massa be able to maneuver in this context?
Will he have a certain “changüí” from CFK?
Will he be able to make the reforms to combat the crisis?
Your freedom will be proportional to the results obtained.
In crisis scenarios, what is constant is change. Governing is managing expectations and winning battles. The leader of the Renovating Front has generated expectations. The most difficult thing remains for him, which will determine his future and that of Peronism: getting medals that the president as executive director has not achieved. For now, just for now, holds the CEO position vacated by the president.