Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Argentina VP update

I had been following the political saga of Argentine VP Julio Cobos, but with vacation and research projects I lost track. Of all the possible permutations, however, I had not anticipated that he would go back to the UCR but remain vice president (see Boz for links to the Argentine press). It is worth remembering that the Radicals had kicked him out last year for running with then candidate Fernández. So now we have a rather strange brand of co-habitation.

Apparently President Fernández's order has been to refrain from talking about the situation at all, and as far as I can tell, she has spoken to Cobos only one time since he voted against her. If the VP's role is only to keep a heartbeat and break ties in the senate, then from an institutional standpoint she can ignore him. However, his high profile position means that he will keep getting a lot of press, and will be a constant embarrassment. He obviously shows no signs of resigning.

At the same time, though, according to a recent poll a greater percentage of Argentines view her positively (29%, with 34% seeing her as "average") in August than they did in June (20% positive, and 33% average). So who knows, she may well weather this.

I do not know of any other examples of a VP changes his/her party affiliation after taking office. This also makes me wonder about the vetting process (such a hot topic in the U.S. right now) because Cobos stabbed Fernández in the back very quickly.


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