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Argentina - Department of Political Science and International Relations

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* Population (2010) : 40,091,359
* Ethnic groups :
86,4% European
8,5% Mestizo
3,3% Arab
1,6% Amerindian
0,4% Asian & others
*23 Provinces
*Buenos Aires as
autonomous city
• The city and the provinces have their own
constitutions, but exist under a federal system
• The administrative divisions of the provinces are
– departments
– municipalities
• Except for Buenos Aires province, which is
divided into partidos
• The city of Buenos Aires is divided into
Origins of Argentine Federalism
• causes of national unification
• decision to adopt a federal regime
• degree of centralization
Each dimension has its own causes
(Article by E. L. Gibson & T. G. Falleti)
Union of separate sovereign or semisovereign provinces was
driven by mutual economic needs, but these by themselves
did not determine a federal outcome
• The choice of a federal regime was determined by inability of
one powerful region to impose its dominion over the others
through a unitary project. Federalism emerged only after
decades of failed constitutional projects, intermittent
secessionist challenges and continuous military conflict.
• The emergence of a centralized federalism was the outcome
of regional conflicts in which victorious elites from poor
provinces sought a strong and autonomous central governmet
that would prevent one province’s dominion over the others
in the union.
History of Argentina
• Colonial era in 16. century
• Declared independence in 1816
• Conservative elites dominated Argentina
politics through nominally democratic means
until 1912
• The country’s first free election was
conducted in 1916, but the president was
overthrown by a coup in 1930
• In 1946, General Juan Peron was elected as
• He created a populist movement called “Peronism”
• His wife Eva played a central political role until her
death in 1952
– Eve Peron Foundation
– Female Peronist Party
– Women’s suffrage in 1947
During Peron’s tenure
• Wages and working conditions improved
• Unionization was fostered
• Strategic industries and services were nationalized
• However, stable prices and exchange rates are
• Foreign policy became more isolationist
• Censorship and repression were intensified
• Coup in 1955 : He fled into exile
• In 1958 elections, Frondizi came into office
• However, military interfered behalf of conservatism
and agrarian interest, forced him to resign in 1962
• In 1963, Illia was elected and tried to include
Peronists to political life
• So, armed forces retook power in 1966, coup
• New repressive regime caused Peron to call back by
studet and labor protests
• Free elections were demanded and Peron came to
power in 1973
• Peron died in 1974 and left the office to his third
wife Isabel Peron, the vice president
• Conflict between left – right extremist, led to
mayhem and financial chaos
• Coup d’etat in 1976, which removed her from the
• This new dictatorship brought
– some stability
– numerous public works at first
• But then,
deregulation of finance led to sharp fall in living standards
recorded foreign dept
peso collepsed
finally in 1982 defeat by the British in the Falklands War
• Discredited the military regime and led to free
elections in 1983
• Ever since, there were several coup attemps in
Argentina, but they failed
– In 1987 against President Alfonsin
– In 1988 against President Alfonsin, two times
– In 1993 against President Menem
• Because of economic problems and corruption
Federalism in Argentina
•Power sharing between the centre and the
Republic is divided into provinces, municipalities and the
Autonomous City of Buenos Aires в†’ right to have its own
constitution, has to respect the federal one (section 5)
23 provinces
Federal government can intervene in the provinces in order
to maintain peace.... (section 6)
The Congress
Bicameral legislative branch: Congress (Senado de la Nacion)
and Chamber of Deputies (CГЎmara de Diputados de la
пЃ¬ Both houses can introduce bills в†’ send to the other House
for debate в†’ has to be accepted by the President
пЃ¬ It can lever indirect takes in concurrence to the provinces
пЃ¬ в†’ an agreement-law regulates the partition of these taxes
→ “priority to the achievement of a similar degree of
development, of living standards and equal opportunities
throughout the national territory”
пЃ¬ Direct taxes for a specified term throughout the territory
The Senate
Senators elected directly by the population (American model)
пЃ¬ in the Congress 3 elected Senators from every region plus 3
from Buenos Aires City (section 54)
пЃ¬ Vice-President also the President of the Senate в†’ belongs to
the Legislative (section 57)
пЃ¬ Has to give consent if there is the wish to form new provinces
out of the already existing provinces
пЃ¬ The agreement-law has to be originate here
в†’ responsible for laws that concern the equality bewteen the
пЃ¬ Executive members are appointed with the its consent
Supreme Court and other national courts have the exclusive
jurisdiction for all cases concerning one or more provinces
Federal judges aren't allowed to be provincial judges (section
Have all the powers that aren't delegated to the federation by
the constitution
Can choose their own form of governance according to the
national constitution
• Rich natural resources
• Highly literate population
• Diversified industry
• Export-oriented agriculture
• Serious economic crisis in the late 19th century
Historically, the Federal government was the one responsible for
international trade and sub-national governments for local taxes, however
a shift in control of taxes on behalf of federal government has been seen
recently mainly with Co-Participation Law.
The most decentralized state in Latin America
пѓј Approx. half of total public spending at local level
пѓј Doubles institutional and political autonomy
The problem: Sub-national governments blamed to be responsible for deficits.
Centralized tax collection
пѓј Redistribution of the tax revenue through intergovernmental transfers, causing a high vertical
пѓј The Commonwealth is responsible for distributing 56.66% of its revenues to provinces and
retaining 42.44%. The rest is reserved for the National Treasury.
пѓј Gap between the revenus and expenditures of the sub-national governments
Expenditures: 63% of all government expenditures
Revenues: 37.93% of all government revenues
equalled by transfers
пѓј The four richest provinces(Buenos Aires Province, Buenos Aires City, Cordoba and Santa Fe) are
recieving 40% of all transfers while the eight poorest recieving approximately 25%
Tax-Sharing and Intergovernmental Transfers
Regulated with
 Co-participation Laws
пѓј Distribution of resources between the nation and provinces
пѓј Solving the conflicts between provinces and municipalities
 Transfer Service Laws
пѓј Financing educational services
• A “Labyrinth” ? - Complexity
• Inefficiency
• Vertical Fiscal Imbalance
пѓј Irresponsible sub-national gov.s, as if no hard-budget constraint, due to lack of
incentives, not enough effort to collect taxes locally
 Bail-out problem, higher levels of local governments bails out the lower levels – Moral
• Lack of Financial Control
пѓј Sub-national gov.s were free to borrow internationally until 1994, might have resulted in
instability, now they need to get an approval from the national gov.
• Unfair Redistributive Outcomes
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