While the Vice president of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is awaiting her trials for corruption, it is her attempted assassination that has garnered the attention of the world. With the rise of economic instability, endemic corruption, and now, the attempted assassination of a political figure, Argentina is moving towards Democratic erosion.
For a democracy to be successful it needs to be secure from democratic backsliding as it prevents a country from growing and maintaining their democracy. Furthermore, democratic consolidation can be promoted by equality in the society, as it focuses upon improving the social life of the citizens through managing the economy and politics of the country for the common good of the citizens. Therefore, democratic consolidation is a process that helps democracy to grow and maintain its focus on citizens’ welfare and prosperity.
Argentina is not a healthy democracy because of the economic instability, as seen through inflation and growing class gap. It is a South American country whose inflation rate rose by 6.5% in August. Accordingly, its inflation rate is expected to reach 95% this year. Along with the diminishing value of the Argentine peso, almost 4 in 10 Argentinians live below the poverty line. Inflation in Argentina has had an impact upon the distribution of wealth among the elites and the regular class citizens by creating a gap in Argentinian society. It has given more power to political elites who are economically comfortable, while making the economic situation of regular citizens worse as job guarantee is not enough to pull them out of poverty.
In the case of Argentina, unstable economy, and political polarization are hindrances towards democracy and democratic consolidation of the country. Furthermore, the politicians are working for their personal benefit rather than the common good of the citizens.
While Argentina’s inflation is skyrocketing, their vice president Fernandez de Kirchner is facing charges for directing State funds to friends through the usage of Public Work contracts. Moreover, half of those assigned contracts were never completed. The lead prosecutor in the case against the vice president asked the court for a sentence of 12 years in prison along with a lifetime ban from holding public office. Consequently due to her popularity, her supporters held rallies outside her house for nearly two weeks. On September 2, while the vice president was greeting her supporters outside her apartment, Fernando André Sabag Montiel was part of the crowd and attempted to assassinate the vice president. He was subsequently arrested and charged.
The corruption within the Argentinian political elites such as Vice President Kirchner has enhanced political polarization and divisiveness in the country. Lack of political stability has not benefited the growing economic inequality and decline within the country thus there is a high presence of extremism within Argentinian citizens as they are not pleased with the inability of the government to address their demands. As a result, There is a lack of trust in governmental institutions and politicians. By extension, Argentinian citizens claim the attempted assassination of the vice president to be a hoax.
The role of governmental institutions and politicians are crucial as they are the structure and agents who run democracy for the citizens. Dissatisfaction within the citizens regarding the democratic structure of the country goes against the primary expectation of democratic ideals and making decisions for common good.
The political, social and economic situation for the citizens has degraded to the point where middle and lower class people are having difficulties affording essentials such as food. It is the responsibility of political elites to tackle such problems and create social stability in the nation but President Alberto Fernandez and Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner are not on the same page. They have not agreed upon a plan or resolution idea that would effectively tackle inflation and economic instability.
The unequal distribution of power among the citizens and the political elites has caused the well being and common interest of the regular citizens to be sidelined and even ignored. While the elites are growing their economic and political power by turning a blind eye towards the needs of regular people, the social environment within the country is degrading as people are losing their power to political elites who are not considerate of their economic problems .
Due to the lack of economic, political and social stability in Argentina, the governmental institutions are not adhering to the democratic ideals of creating and maintaining equality in the country. This can lead to further increase in the gap between the political elites and middle/lower class citizens in the country. The unequal distribution of power will eventually lead to a decrease in the quality of life of citizens of Argentina.