Argentina Weathers the Storm

Issue Date October 2003
Volume 14
Issue 4
Page Numbers 152-166
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In 2001 and 2002, economic depression and widespread hostility toward the political elite raised fears that Argentina would follow a Peru or Venezuela-like path toward party system—and possibly regime—collapse. Yet Argentine democracy weathered the crisis without a rupture of constitutional rule. The 2003 presidential election was free of violence or fraud, and notwithstanding calls to “throw everybody out,” established political elites fared surprisingly well. A major reason for this outcome was the persistent strength of Peronism, which—despite severe internal conflict—dominated the election and retained control of the presidency. Although democracy survived, Argentina’s capacity to avert similar crises in the future hinges on breaking a long-term pattern institutional instability.