Monday, December 10, 2007
Argentina's First Elected Female President... Is the US Ready For the Same?
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner took office today as Argentina's first elected female president.
There have been numerous comparisons between Cristina and Hillary Clinton. Both are smart women who went to law school and their husbands preceded them in office as president. That is Cristina's husband in the photo above who as outgoing president had to turn over the keys to his office to his wife.
What does this mean for Argentina? From what I have heard, elections can be anxious times for Argentina. Most election years, people don't know how policy changes from one president to the next will affect them. And they have been burned in the past.
However, after this last election, everyone was resigned to the fact that things would remain the same no matter what they thought of the Kirchners' political record.
Under Señor Kirchner's presidency, Argentina climbed out of one of the biggest economic collapses this continent has ever witnessed. The country has rebounded and had over 5 years of strong economic growth. A little too strong.
The strong growth has let inflation rear its ugly head. The outgoing Kirchner and his wife have been accused of mucking with the inflation index and under reporting the true numbers. Anecdotal evidence from the local supermarket would tend to back the critics.
In retrospect, it was kind of hard for Nestor Kirchner to look bad when your country could fall no lower. The only way was up for Argentina after the collapse of 2001. But now there are storm clouds on the horizon for Cristina's turn. We'll see how well she navigates the rough water ahead.
Likewise, the next US President has one big mess to clean up. A much bigger mess with no easy solutions. I'm afraid things will be much tougher for the next President no matter who he or she is.