Argentine transition marked by feud, farce

Dec 09, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Source: Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina/flickr

Outgoing President Kirchner refused to attend handover, as her supporters rallied in Buenos Aires.

Bloomberg News writes:

Argentina’s presidential inauguration ceremony on Thursday has taken a farcical turn after outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner refused to attend the handover and hang the sash on her successor. A group of lawmakers from her alliance said they will also boycott the event.

The dispute follows President-elect Mauricio Macri’s decision to ask a federal court to rule that Fernandez’s presidency ends tonight at midnight rather than tomorrow. The request makes it impossible for her to oversee the ceremony, her Cabinet Chief Anibal Fernandez told reporters in Buenos Aires.

Reuters writes:

Thousands of Argentines demonstrated in the center of Buenos Aires on Wednesday in support of outgoing President Cristina Fernandez and her leftist policies, underscoring the resistance her conservative successor will face to his plans for change.

Fernandez, a fiery and divisive leader, has made it clear she would not make Thursday's handover to president-elect Mauricio Macri easy, even arguing over where the swearing-in ceremony should take place.

Government officials said she has decided to skip it altogether, whether it takes place in La Casa Rosada presidential palace as requested by Macri or in Congress, which is preferred by Fernandez. Her Front for Victory party holds the most seats in the legislature.

The Wall Street Journal writes:

Mrs. Kirchner’s surprise decision to skip the ceremony, revealed by a spokesman late Tuesday, makes her the first president since the return of democracy in 1983 to miss her successor’s inauguration. It also marks the culmination of a fiercely personal battle between Mrs. Kirchner and Mr. Macri over how and where the inauguration should take place.

The public spat between the two has befuddled Argentines, led to last-minute litigation and forced the security details of visiting dignitaries to scramble to figure out where they are supposed to be and when.