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Alberto Fernández

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Alberto Fernández
Alberto fernandez presidente (cropped).jpg
President of Argentina
Assumed office
10 December 2019
Vice PresidentCristina Fernández de Kirchner
Preceded byMauricio Macri
Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers
In office
25 May 2003 – 23 July 2008
PresidentNéstor Kirchner
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
Preceded byAlfredo Atanasof
Succeeded bySergio Massa
Legislator of the City of Buenos Aires
In office
7 August 2000 – 25 May 2003
Superintendent of Insurance
In office
1 August 1989 – 8 December 1995
PresidentCarlos Menem
Preceded byDiego Peluffo
Succeeded byClaudio Moroni
Personal details
Born
Alberto Ángel Fernández

(1959-04-02) 2 April 1959 (age 61)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Political partyUNIR Constitutional Nationalist Party (1982–1983)
Justicialist Party (1983–present)
Other political
affiliations
Meeting for the City (1997–2000)
Front for Victory (2003–2008)
Renewal Front (2013–2015)
Justicialist Front Comply (2017–2019)
Frente de Todos (2019–present)
Spouse(s)
Marcela Luchetti
(m. 1993; div. 2005)
Domestic partnerFabiola Yáñez (2014–)[1]
ChildrenEstanislao (b. 1994)
ResidenceQuinta presidencial de Olivos
Alma materUniversity of Buenos Aires
Signature

Alberto Ángel Fernández (Spanish pronunciation: [alˈβeɾto ferˈnandes]; born 2 April 1959) is an Argentine lawyer, professor and politician, serving as President of Argentina since 2019.[2] A member of the Justicialist Party, he was Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers during the entirety of the presidency of Néstor Kirchner and the early months of the presidency of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. He won the 2019 general election with 48% of the vote, defeating incumbent President Mauricio Macri.

Early life and career

Fernández was born in Buenos Aires, son of Celia Pérez and her first husband. Separated from the latter, Celia (sister of the personal photographer of Juan Domingo Perón) married Judge Carlos Pelagio Galíndez (son of a Senator of the Radical Civic Union).[3] Alberto Fernández, who barely knew his biological father, considers Pelagio to be his true father.[3][4]

Alberto Fernández attended Law School at the University of Buenos Aires. He graduated at the age of 24, and later became a professor of criminal law. He entered public service as an adviser to Deliberative Council of Buenos Aires and the Argentine Chamber of Deputies. He became Deputy Director of Legal Affairs of the Economy Ministry, and in this capacity served as chief Argentine negotiator at the GATT Uruguay Round. Nominated by newly elected President Carlos Menem to serve as National Superintendent for Insurance, served as President of the Latin American Insurance Managers' Association from 1989 to 1992, and co-founded the Insurance Managers International Association. He also served as adviser to Mercosur and ALADI on insurance law, and was involved in insurance and health services companies in the private sector. Fernández was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young People of Argentina in 1992, and was awarded the Millennium Award as one of the nation's Businessmen of the Century, among other recognitions.[5] During this time he became politically close to former Buenos Aires Province Governor Eduardo Duhalde.[6]

Fernández (right) with President Néstor Kirchner and Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana in 2007.

He was elected on 7 June 2000, to the Buenos Aires City Legislature on the conservative Action for the Republic ticket led by former Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo.

Chief of the Cabinet (2003–2008)

Fernández (right) took oath as the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers under President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on 10 December 2007

He gave up his seat when he was appointed Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers by President Néstor Kirchner upon taking office on 25 May 2003, and retained the same post under Kirchner's wife and successor, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, upon her election in 2007.[7][8]

A new system of variable taxes on agricultural exports led to the 2008 Argentine government conflict with the agricultural sector, during which Fernández acted as the government's chief negotiator. The negotiations failed, however, and following Vice President Julio Cobos' surprise, tie-breaking vote against the bill in the Senate, Fernández resigned on 23 July 2008.[9]

Pre-presidency

He was named head of the City of Buenos Aires chapter of the Justicialist Party, but minimized his involvement in Front for Victory campaigns for Congress in 2009.[10] Fernández actively considered seeking the Justicialist Party presidential nomination ahead of the 2011 general elections.[11] He ultimately endorsed President Cristina Kirchner for re-election, however.[12] He was campaign manager of the presidential candidacy of Sergio Massa in 2015.[13]

President of Argentina

2019 election

On May 18, 2019, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced that Fernández would be a candidate for president, and that she would run for vice president alongside him, hosting his first campaign rally with Santa Cruz Governor Alicia Kirchner, sister-in-law of the former Kirchner.[14][15]

About a month later, seeking to broaden his appeal to moderates, Fernández struck a deal with Sergio Massa to form an alliance called Frente de Todos, wherein Massa would be offered a role within a potential Fernández administration, or be given a key role within the Chamber of Deputies in exchange for dropping out of the presidential race and offering his support.[16] Fernández also earned the endorsement of the General Confederation of Labor, receiving their support in exchange for promising that he will boost the economy, and that there will be no labor reform.[17]

On August 11, 2019, Fernández won first place in the 2019 primary elections, earning 47.7% of the vote, compared to incumbent President Mauricio Macri's 31.8%.[18] Fernández thereafter held a press conference where he said he called Macri to say that he would help Macri complete his term and "bring calm to society and markets," and that his economic proposals do not run the risk of defaulting on the national debt.[19]

President-elect Fernández meets with outgoing President Macri following national elections that took place the previous day.

In the October 27th general election, Fernández won the presidency by attaining 48.1% of the vote to Macri's 40.4%, exceeding the threshold required to win without the need for a ballotage.[20]

Presidency

Fernández was sworn in on December 10, 2019.

His first legislative initiative, the Social Solidarity and Productive Recovery Bill, was passed by Congress on December 23.[21]

The bill includes tax hikes on foreign currency purchases, agricultural exports, wealth, and car sales - as well as tax incentives for production. Amid the worst recession in two decades, it provides a 180-day freeze on utility rates, bonuses for the nation's retirees and Universal Allocation per Child beneficiaries, and food cards to two million of Argentina’s poorest families. It also gave the president additional powers to renegotiate debt terms – with Argentina seeking to restructure its US$100 billion debt with private bondholders and US$45 billion borrowed by Macri from the IMF.[21]

He also announced a restructuring of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI), including the publications of its accounts - which had been made secret by Macri in a 2016 decree.[22][23] The AFI had been criticized for targeting public figures for political purposes.[22]

2020 coronavirus pandemic

During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Fernandez's government announced a country-wide lockdown, in effect from March 20 until March 31, later extended until April 12.[24][25]

The announcement of the lockdown was generally well received, although there were concerns with its economic impact in the already delicate state of Argentina's economy, with analysts predicting at least 3% GDP decrease in 2020.[26][27] Fernandez later announced a 700 billion pesos (US$11.1 billion) stimulus package, worth 2% of the country's GDP.[28][29][26]

Included in the package was the announcement of a one-time emergency payment of 10,000 pesos (US$154) to lower-income individuals whose income was affected by the lockdown, including retirees.[30] Because banks were excluded in the list of businesses that were considered essential in Fernandez's lockdown decree, they remained closed until the Central Bank announced banks would open during a weekend starting on April 3.[31]

Due to Argentina's notoriously low level of banking penetration, many Argentines, particularly retirees, do not possess bank accounts and are used to withdraw funds and pensions in cash.[32] The decision to open banks for only three days on a reduced-hours basis sparked widespread outrage as hundreds of thousands of retirees (coronavirus' highest risk group) flocked to bank branches in order to withdraw their monthly pension and emergency payment.[33][34][35][36]

Honours

National honours

References

  1. ^ "Fabiola Yáñez, la novia de Alberto Fernández: 'Él no quería ser candidato'". 26 August 2019.
  2. ^ Dube, Ryan (27 October 2019). "Argentina's President Mauricio Macri Concedes Election to Peronist Rival Alberto Fernández". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b 20minutos (28 October 2019). "Perfil | Alberto Fernández, el elegido de Cristina que logró llegar a la Presidencia". www.20minutos.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  4. ^ "La historia de Alberto Fernández: de Villa del Parque a la Rosada, con una guitarra y la política a cuestas". www.ambito.com. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Clase Magistral". Universidad Nacional de San Luis. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013.
  6. ^ "El Pasado Menemista de un gobierno que acusa a la oposición de menemista". Perfil. Archived from the original on 17 April 2008.
  7. ^ "Alberto Fernández habría vuelto con su esposa". Agencia Nova. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Alberto Fernández y Vilma Ibarra más juntos que nunca". Perfil. 26 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Miguens afirmó que Fernández fracasó en la negociación con el campo". Los Andes.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Kirchner cargó contra Cobos y De Narváez en un acto porteño". Clarín.
  11. ^ "Alberto Fernández reiteró que no descarta ser candidato a presidente en 2011". La Nación. 24 March 2010.
  12. ^ "Alberto Fernández se declara oficialista y ya se anota como candidato para 2015". La Nación. 30 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Alberto Fernández: "Es indudable el deterioro en el voto de Sergio Massa"". Minuto Uno.
  14. ^ "Alberto Fernández presidente, Cristina Kirchner vice: el video en el que la senadora anuncia la fórmula". La Nación. 18 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Alberto Fernández, en su primer acto de campaña: "Salgamos a convocar a todos"" (in Spanish). La Nacion. 20 May 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Argentina's Massa in line for key Congress role on Fernandez presidential ticket". Reuters. 18 June 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  17. ^ Bullrich, Lucrecia (17 July 2019). "Alberto Fernández recibió el respaldo de la CGT y dijo que no hará reformas" (in Spanish). La Naction. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  18. ^ Mander, Benedict (12 August 2019). "Alberto Fernández leads in Argentina's nationwide primary". Financial Times. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  19. ^ "Alberto Fernández: "El Presidente tiene que llegar al 10 de diciembre"" (in Spanish). La Nacion. 14 August 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  20. ^ Goñi, Uki (28 October 2019). "Argentina election: Macri out as Cristina Fernández de Kirchner returns to office as VP". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  21. ^ a b "Fernández's economic emergency law wins approval in Senate". Buenos Aires Times. 23 December 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Fernández taps Caamaño to lead overhaul of AFI intelligence agency". Buenos Aires Times. 20 December 2019.
  23. ^ "Argentina's spy agency regroups, wins back power under Macri". Reuters. 20 July 2016.
  24. ^ Do Rosario, Jorgelina; Patrick, Gillespie. "Argentina Orders 'Exceptional' Lockdown in Bid to Stem Virus". Bloomberg. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  25. ^ Squires, Scott; Patrick, Gillespie. "Argentina Says It Aims to Avoid Default Amid Lockdown Extension". Bloomberg. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  26. ^ a b Mander, Benedict. "Pandemic throws Argentina debt strategy into disarray". Financial Times. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  27. ^ Rapoza, Kenneth. "Argentina Goes Under Quarantine As Debt Deal Now An Afterthought". Forbes. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  28. ^ Meakin, Lucy (20 March 2020). "Cash and Low Rates: How G-20 Policy-Makers Are Stepping Up". National Post. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  29. ^ Newbery, Charles. "Argentina unveils $11 bln stimulus package". LatinFinance. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  30. ^ Sigal, Lucila (23 March 2020). "Argentina offers spot payments to coronavirus-hit low income workers". Reuters. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  31. ^ "En medio de la cuarentena total, hoy abren los bancos: quiénes pueden ir y cómo van a funcionar". Infobae (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  32. ^ Raszewski, Eliana; Lobianco, Miguel (3 April 2020). "'Ridiculous' block-long lines at banks greet Argentine pensioners, at high risk for coronavirus". Reuters. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  33. ^ Doll, Ignacio Olivera. "Argentines disobey virus lockdown to collect money from banks". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  34. ^ "Indignados y enojados: testimonios de jubilados que sufrieron el desborde de los bancos". Infobae (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  35. ^ González, Enric (3 April 2020). "Miles de jubilados se agolpan ante los bancos argentinos y se exponen a un contagio masivo". El Pais (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  36. ^ "Coronavirus en Argentina: Por el caos en el pago a jubilados, la oposición pide que Alberto Fernández "separe" a los responsables". Clarin (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 April 2020.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Alfredo Atanasof
Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers of Argentina
2003–2008
Succeeded by
Sergio Massa
Preceded by
Mauricio Macri
President of Argentina
2019–present
Incumbent
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