Argentina's Prez Struggles to Keep Power

Peronists abandon Kirchner as approval rating drops to 20%
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2008 7:03 AM CDT
Police officers detain Alfredo De Angeli, a prominent farmers' activist , for blockading the road in Gualeguaychu, on the Argentinean border with Uruguay, Saturday, June 14, 2008.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Santellan)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Six months ago Cristina Fernández de Kirchner succeeded her husband as president of Argentina, romping to victory with the help of a huge turnout in rural provinces. But those bastions of Peronism have since turned on Kirchner, whose hugely unpopular agricultural tax hike set off a months-long battle between the government and the nation's farmers. Now the president faces a critical vote in Congress that imperils her government.

As the New York Times reports, the president's approval rating recently plummeted to 20%, and as the people turn on her, her own party's politicians are preparing to do the same. "Like Bill Clinton said, ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ and that’s why we voted for her," said one mayor, a lifelong Peronist who has abandoned Kirchner. "And we really were stupid."