Which country leaves the Uruguayan left to the new government coalition?



A country with a stable economy but with a 5% fiscal deficit and unemployment of 8.9%; with advances in social rights but with union conflict around the corner and internal security problems that concern the population. This is the Uruguay that receives the new Government.

This Sunday culminated a cycle of 15 uninterrupted years of the left in the power of the hand of the Broad Front (FA). This political force came to power in 2005 after more than a century of alternation between the traditional National Party (PN) and Colorado Party (PC).

Now, a coalition of five conservative parties, led by nationalist Luis Lacalle Pou, won the elections and must take command of a country very different from what it was 15 years ago.

At that time, Uruguay was emerging from the toughest economic crisis in its history, in 2002, and a social emergency due to the high rates of poverty and inequality.

Today, the country has a political, social and economic stability that causes the admiration of a completely heated region, but a difficult fiscal situation and high crime rates caused the population to decide a change of course at the polls.

The Government is just beginning and attention is focused on the future Urgent Consideration Law (LUC), which will be presented soon to Parliament and will seek to make the main changes to direct the management of the coming years.

With all this on the table, which country is the new Government?

DEFICIT AND GROWTH

The Uruguayan economy is in the eye of the storm. From the FA they assure that the management has been successful while the leaders of the coalition argue that they have encountered a situation worse than expected.

The truth is that today the need for a fiscal adjustment is foreseen but there is still no certainty as to what will be the way forward for the Government to solve this difficulty.

As detailed to Efe, the senior manager of the Department of Financial Economic Advice in Deloitte Uruguay, Florencia Carriquiry, in the 15 years of the front-wing government, the country has had a "very good performance" in economic matters although since 2015 this part maintained "a growth very lean. "

"There is a fiscal situation that is quite problematic in itself, especially in an economy that is not growing steadily as it did until a few years ago. We have a fiscal deficit of almost 5 points of GDP with a dynamic of public spending that we will have to stop and there are problems of competitiveness that will have to be attacked, "says the expert.

Although for Carriquiry the Uruguayan economy has had "outstanding performance" when compared to the region, it does not show "healthy growth" and is stagnant.

In this regard, the senior manager believes that what will have to change in the coming years is the dynamics of public spending to improve the fiscal situation.

On the other hand, it ensures that it is necessary that the value of the dollar "systematically exceeds inflation" with devaluations of between 10% and 15% per year.

UNEMPLOYMENT AND TRADE UNION CONFLICTS

The employment situation is one that is expected to be at stake during the next five years. The idea of ​​easing working conditions worries the PIT-CNT trade union center, whose leaders have already assured that they are ready to express their rejection if the new changes affect them.

The trade unionists' claim has revolved around the Wage Councils, reinstated by the FA (they had not worked since the 1990s) when it came to the Government. Although the government coalition ensures that they will remain, they also said they seek to "make them more flexible" and this makes the union central alert while waiting for what happens.

In addition, the coalition considers that the occupation of workplaces is not an extension of the right to strike and therefore intends to stop allowing this practice and this aroused the annoyance of trade unionists.

This will be key changes proposed by the LUC that has not yet been taken to Parliament.

Although at the moment no demonstrations are foreseen with the intensity that they have had in other countries such as Chile, we will have to wait for the management to begin to see what level of dialogue will exist between workers and the Government.

SOCIAL RIGHTS THAT CANNOT BE TOUCHED

During the electoral campaign many voices of the left assured that if the conservatives won, the rights obtained during these 15 years would be affected.

Equal marriage, legal marijuana, abortion and comprehensive law for trans people are some examples of these laws that make up the so-called "Rights Agenda".

Both Lacalle Pou and the rest of the members of the coalition have affirmed that changes to these laws are anticipated but the groups of the different minorities assure imminent protests if they perceive that this happens at some time.

SECURITY, THE LEFT AQUILES HEEL

In these 15 years of leftist governments, despite social advances and the reduction of inequality, crimes have been increasing and the population considers it a great concern.

Uruguay recorded 30,650 predators in 2019 (2.5% more than 2018), 139,623 thefts (4.3% less than the previous year) and 391 homicides (6% less than 2018).

The importance of security for the new Government was marked from day one, when Lacalle Pou met with the chiefs of police from across the country and their Interior Minister, Jorge Larrañaga.

GENDER VIOLENCE

Uruguay is one of the countries with the highest femicide rates in the region. This crisis caused the Government of Tabaré Vázquez to decree a state of national emergency regarding gender violence.

As feminist organizations estimate, in 2019 there were 30 feminicides and concern has been increasing.

One of the challenges for the coalition will be to provide resources to the Law on Integral Violence Towards Women Based on Gender, passed in 2017 but without sufficient resources to promote it.

The vice president of Uruguay, Beatriz Argimón, has been one of the most concerned with women's rights and the fight against violence during her parliamentary administration.

With this panorama begins a management that will have an ideological dye different from that of the last 15 years. The challenges and strengths of Uruguay are in sight and now it remains to wait for the work of a government of an unprecedented coalition - for the five parties that make it up - in the country's history.

Federico Anfitti

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