The Argentine political system is regulated by The Argentine Constitution of 1853 which mandates a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches at the national and provincial level. The political framework is a federal representative democratic republic, in which the President is both head of state and head of government, complemented by a pluriform multi-party system.
Executive power resides in the President and the Cabinet. The President and Vice President are directly elected to four-year terms and are limited to two terms. Cabinet ministers are appointed by the President and are not subject to legislative ratification.
Legislative power is vested in the bicameral National Congress, comprising a 72-member Senate and a 257-member Chamber of Deputies. Senators serve six-year terms, with one-third standing for re-election every two years. Members of the Chamber of Deputies are elected to four-year terms by a proportional representation system, with half of the members standing for re-election every two years. A third of the candidates presented by the parties must be women.
The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The Supreme Court has seven members appointed by the President in consultation with the Senate. The judges of all the other courts are appointed by the Council of Magistrates of the Nation, a secretariat composed of representatives of judges, lawyers, the Congress and the executive.
As regards Presidency, during the first presidency of Juan Domingo Peron (1946-1951), Argentina was the 5th richest country in the whole world because we sold food to countries which were on war. Then, when the dictatorship took place during 1970, government power changed drastically. A war, known as the Dirty War, was declared on the citizens of Argentina and battle tactics, which can only be describe as genocide became unthinkable. Origins of the Dirty War trace its violent history from the years of 1976 to 1983. Most of the genocide was conducted under the military rule of Jorge Rafael Videla, who came into power after Juan Peron’s widower Isabel Martinez de Peron was ousted from her own president power.
Raúl Alfonsín’s inaugural address, 1983.
Raúl Alfonsín’s government (1983-1989) took steps to account for the disappeared, established civilian control of the armed forces, and consolidated democratic institutions. The members of the three military juntas were prosecuted and sentenced to life terms. The previous regime’s foreign debt, however, left the Argentine economy saddled by the conditions imposed on it by both its private creditors and the IMF, and priority was given to servicing the foreign debt at the expense of public works and domestic credit. Alfonsín’s failure to resolve worsening economic problems caused him to lose public confidence. Following a 1989 currency crisis that resulted in a sudden and ruinous 15-fold jump in prices, he left office five months early.
Newly elected President Carlos Menem (1989-1999) began pursuing privatizations and, after a second bout of hyperinflation in 1990, reached out to economist Domingo Cavallo, who imposed a peso-dollar fixed exchange rate in 1991 and adopted far-reaching market-based policies, dismantling protectionist barriers and business regulations, while accelerating privatizations. These reforms contributed to significant increases in investment and growth with stable prices through most of the 1990s; but the peso’s fixed value could only be maintained by flooding the market with dollars, resulting in a renewed increase in the foreign debt. Towards 1998, moreover, a series of international financial crises and overvaluation of the pegged peso caused a gradual slide into economic crisis. The sense of stability and well being which had prevailed during the 1990’s eroded quickly, and by the end of his term in 1999, these accumulating problems and reports of corruption had made Menem unpopular.
President Fernando de la Rúa inherited diminished competitiveness in exports, as well as chronic fiscal deficits. The governing coalition developed rifts, and his returning Cavallo to the Economy Ministry was interpreted as a crisis move by speculators. The economic and political crisis, which Argentina experienced in 2001 and 2002, was arguably the worst since the country’s independence. Over the course of two years, output fell by more than 15 percent, the Argentine peso lost three-quarters of its value, and registered unemployment exceeded 25 percent. In 2001, De la Rúa, who was the President in that time, however, could not manage an economic crisis. He stopped paying the FMI, only $250 (pesos) were allowed to be taken from your bank account every week. It was a general chaos and people went on strike. There was such a high demonstration because people were so tired of being treated like fools. Finally, he resigned his duties as President, December 21, 2001. People organized a huge strike and everybody was holding their saucepan with a spoon and started making noises as a way of protesting. They went out of their home spontaneously, and there were like 10.000 doing the same in Plaza de Mayo, in Buenos Aires, and these actions were repeated though out the whole country because they were against all the politics decisions that De La Rua was about to implement. Then, the pacific strike and demonstration ended violent riots where 5 died because the police reprimanded people with force. It was chaos, the President resigned and left The Casa Rosada in a helicopter. Meanwhile, people were reprimanded and all rights as citizens ended. Thanks to an incompetent De La Rua in managing a country, the country had 4 presidents (Ramon Puerta, Adolfo Rodriguez Saa, Eduardo Canano, and then, Eduardo Duhalde) in 4 weeks. It had huge debts, such as some economic restrictions for example, people were not able to take their money out because it was what some called “el corralito”. They had to take just $250 (pesos) per week. If they had American Dollars, they weren’t able to take them from the bank because it was restricted too. Also, they had the same exchange like that 1 pesos (Actual currency) = 1 American Dollars. During those times, it was too different because they had 1 American Dollars = 6 pesos. It took more than a year to get to an economic stability which allowed for people to live “normally”. In 2003, people were once again able to take their money from the bank.
Governor Néstor Kirchner, a left-wing Peronist, was elected president in May 2003. During his administration, Argentina restructured its defaulted debt with a steep discount (about 66%) on most bonds, paid off debts with the International Monetary Fund, renegotiated contracts with utilities and nationalized some previously privatized enterprises. Kirchner and his economists, notably Roberto Lavagna, also pursued a vigorous income policy and public works investments.
Argentina has since been enjoying economic growth, though with high inflation. Néstor Kirchner forfeited the 2007 campaign, in favor of his wife and Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Winning by a landslide that October, she became the first woman to be elected President of Argentina, but she was the second woman’s president after Isabel Martinez de Peron.