2/8/2024 - Politics and Society

“All for Argentina”: The rise of the figure vice president

By Sofia Kasirer

“All for Argentina”: The rise of the figure vice president

By Sofia Kasirer and Alejo Lasala

With the appropriation of Victoria Villarrruel, the Argentine vice president has experienced a remarkable transformation, facing controversies and conquering public opinion with firmness and closeness. Both his personal seal and his strategy in the Senate, frame his impronta in the Argentine political scene.

From the Constitution to political practice

The Constitution of the Argentine Nation establishes a republican and representative system, where the Executive Branch is chaired by a president (Art. 87) and a vice president (Art. 88) elected by the popular vote. The history of our country shows that thirty-two citizens were privileged to hold the position of the Vice President of the Argentine Nation from 1853 to the present.

Unlike other relevant positions, such as the Presidency or the Jefatura de Cabinet, the Vice-President is limited to granting, through Art. 57 of the National Constitution, the presidency of the Senate and the possibility of voting in the event of a draw, and even the requirement of its replacement in the event of a vacancy is not spelled out. In short, its main function is to act as a link between executive power and legislative power.

On three days of assuming, Villarrruel led his first session in the Senate and met his first goals despite the opposition's negatives: to conform the new authorities as quickly as possible, dislocating the Union by the Homeland of power sharing, and to wake up the conformation of seven commissions with the non-Kirchnerist blocks.

Unbreakable commitment: a personal seal in current policy

Since his distinguished foray into the political scene during the campaign to take on the role of Diputada Nacional in 2021, Victoria Villarruel, along with his current formula mate, Javier Milei, left a distinctive mark of his ideals, establishing agenda themes that paved the way to public debate as that around the scope of defense.

He graduated in Law from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and has a Technology in Urban and Port Safety at the National Technological University (UTN). It also chairs CELTYV, a non-governmental organization that defends the victims of terrorism in Argentina It is the Secretary-General of the National Democratic Party.

The vice-president was consulted in numerous interviews on the low which ideological category would lie, but without going further, it defines itself as a patriot. This symbol of authenticity is not only limited to his words, but transcends to the official acts, where he marks his signature accompanied by what is his distinctive motto and head phrase: All for Argentina. Prior moments when speculating on the possible triumph of Advanced Freedom, he explained that taking the vice presidential role would imply a “represent responsibility” and a double feeling at a personal level, given by the situation that left inherited the previous Kirchnerist government.

When Milei in the past 2023 presented her for the first time as her formula companion to the Executive in the La Nación + program, she described her as “the brilliant woman who accompanies her”, highlighting her qualities of integrity and honesty. In addition, he stressed his importance to address the issues that complained to the country for his great knowledge in security and defense issues, and “you have people up to you”.

Management objectives: The strategy for an agile Senate

One of the first tasks that took over the officialism was to look for the opinion for the Single Boleta Paper Law project for the election of national positions, an initiative that has a previous medium sanction of the Chamber of Deputies in 2022. This project would imply a reduction in the funding allocated to parties for the printing of bullfights, efectivizing the electoral process and avoiding the theft and forgery of these.

In the House of Senators, the Advanced Freedom bloc has only 7 representatives. The fact that the vice president had appointed the committee authorities a few days before taking the new formula, denoted the speed that began to take the Senate. This was achieved by the non-Kirchnerist opposition, joining the 39 senators who relegated to the kirchnerism of power and managed to conform the face commissions at the beginning of the extraordinary session period.

The dialogue stage had its beginnings at the end of November last year, where the vice president held protocol meetings with senators. Union by the Homeland, the PRO and the Federal Unit; the main objective was to perform an active task marking the difference of the previous year that, according to the Senate Legislative Management Report, during 2023 only eight parliamentary sessions were held.

Villarrruel defined the Senate as “the house of the Argentines”, but in its first session as president of the enclosure, the sectors representatives of kirchnerism questioned their work as "unconstitutional": the vice president replied that leaving the Senate without working would be the only one who contradicted the Constitution, manifesting that the consensus would be sought to work and in cases that no, its dispatch would be open to dialogue beyond the controversies that might exist between the sectors.

Conquest of the political scenery: the height of Victoria Villarruel

In public image research, Villarruel was the protagonist of two transversal phenomena. In November 2023, transiting the final instances of an extended campaign, his own positive image did not surpass the 35 percentage points. Today, just over a month from taking office, and after elucidating management goals and priorities, the positive image reached 50 points (Giacobbe) and, according to several researches, would be at the top of the podium among the most important politicians, followed by Javier Milei.

Accompanied by this, it appears the coincidence that the worst image, also in several researches, possesses its predecessor in the role vice presidency: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, close to reaching the 60 negative image points, just over a year from her conviction to six years in prison for fraud with the public work in the province of Santa Cruz.

These numbers can be assigned to several reasons. First of all, Villarruel faced and overcame expertly intense rhetorical attacks and clashes from former officialism during the presidential campaign. These attempted to establish a narrative that antagonized his figure with democratic values, even being labeled as a "infiltration of democracy" by former candidate Agustín Rossi during the vice-president debate. On the other hand, the fears that might have stirred up this campaign were annulled by the suppression of the imaginary: the narrative of what might be versus what it is.

This first time of Villarruel had successes and successes, both in management and in image, which were accompanied by a search for closeness in the individual and austerity in the politician, contraposing to the scarce public and quantitative apparitions of the former president. How will it influence the transformation of the Argentine vice president under the leadership of Victoria Villarruel in the country's political future?

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Sofia Kasirer

Sofia Kasirer

Sofia Kasirer is a Bachelor of International Relations at the UCA specializing in the Contemporary Middle East.

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