State employees in Argentina are being pressured into campaigning for the right-wing Mauricio Macri government in advance of October elections.

The presidency of right-wing businessman turned politician Mauricio Macri seems to be entering its final act in Argentina. The presidential election itself will take place on 27 October, but primary elections held on 11 August served as an important electoral thermometer. They gave Macri’s left-of-centre opponents, the Peronist Justicialist Party, a thumping 16 point margin of victory over the incumbent.

The scale of the victory for the opposition Fernández-Fernández ticket – with Alberto Fernández as presidential candidate and former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (no relation) as vice-president – surprised many mainstream analysts. However, after travelling to Argentina in early August to film a documentary on the human costs of Macri’s austerity policies, it is not hard to understand the widespread rejection of ‘Macrinomics’ and the desperate desire for change.

Read my piece for Tribune here.

However unpopular the IMF and Macri are, the government seems desperate to hold onto power. While in Argentina, I was contacted by a whistleblower who worked as a civil servant in the capital’s local government. They told me that state employees were being forced to spend their working hours campaigning for Macri in the run up to the 11 August primary elections. The workers were told they had to canvass in the street during work hours, attend campaign events and do call centre work for Macri. If they refused they were directly threatened with dismissal. Those affected have now set up a website to denounce this abuse of public resources by the Macri government.

Below some links in Spanish with more information about this scandal.

3 September 2019

Empleados públicos denuncian que son forzados a militar a favor de Cambiemos

23 August 2019

Abren una causa para investigar si Juntos por el Cambio obliga a empleados públicos a participar de su campaña

19 August 2019

El gobierno de la ciudad como un local del PRO