The presidential system has kept the concentration of power at the head of the executive branch, but political experiences in Argentina have made this concept rethink. In an interview with AIM, Uner political scientist Elias Fernandez reviews specific cases that allow us in Latin America to think about different “types” of vice presidents according to the relationship with the president. From Mishti’s “dependency” model, through the “tension” model with CFK, to the open “conflict” model, Chacho Alvarez and Cobos.
In presidential republics, the role of vice presidents has usually been overshadowed by the strong influence of the presidential figure. However, in recent years, many vice presidents in Latin America have acquired a political centrality that forces us to rethink the way political science has described the troubling dynamics of the presidency,” asserts the Doctor of Political Science and BA professor at this agency in Political Science from the College of Service Sociology of the National University of Entre Ríos (Uner), Elias Fernandez.
The analyst explains that “in light of the process of democratization experienced by both Argentina and various Latin American countries in the last quarter of the twentieth century, many thinkers of law and political science have placed the center of their analysis on the attractive importance of the title of executive power over decision-making processes, at the expense of other actors in the political system.
In this order, Fernandez notes that jurist Roberto Gargarella is referring to the presidential design devised in the United States, which would be repeated throughout the nineteenth century by emerging Latin American nations? It left in the hands of the president functions of vital political importance, which largely go beyond those related to the implementation of the general administration of the country on the basis of legislation introduced by Congress, as was believed from the theory of the division of powers developed by Montesquieu. And although the Argentine constitution took the North American design as a model, these features in favor of the executive were more prominent, giving rise to what the jurist Carlos Nino called excessive presidency, a concept alluded to by the fact that, among other aspects, granting Constitutional design of our country the president’s discretion ‘to appoint members of the Cabinet and other members of the government and administration […]before the provision of the North American Constitution requiring the advice and consent of the Senate [estas]labels”, as Nino notes in his work Fundamentos de Derecho Constitucional. A philosophical, legal, and political analysis of constitutional practice.
“According to these visions, then, in this political and institutional context, the role of the remaining actors in the political system is overshadowed by comparison with the superiority of the presidential figure, to whom our national constitution confers maximum responsibility in the public administration of the country. On the other hand, the vice president is given the presidency The Senate, but cannot vote for or against bills discussed in the House, except when the votes of the members of the Senate are equal. Thus, if we refer strictly to the constitutional powers, the Vice President has very little institutional role compared to the position of Vice President” .
But in fact, what some call realpolitik or simply the conditions of controversies in the political arena, force us to rethink the role that books hold for the president of the Senate.
“The political role of vice presidents is gaining increasing importance in the political processes that occur within the framework of presidential systems in Latin America, which have given birth to a primary research agenda within the framework of political science. In this sense, political scientist Ariel Sripman-Mittleman developed a classification of the relationship between president and vice president, which is expressed in two dimensions: on the one hand, the power that the vice president accumulates (depending on the party leadership, support from trade unions and business organizations, attractiveness in the media, etc. till then) ; On the other hand, the way he uses his power depends on the degree of compatibility with the policies applied by the president. Based on these two dimensions, four types of relationships can be distinguished:
a) dependency relationship. This usually occurs when the vice president does not have political capital of his own, which is why he has chosen not to confront the first president, maintain a low political standing, and support the general direction of the government. As an example, 1 Nino, Carlos (1992) can be cited. The origins of constitutional law. Philosophical, Legal, and Political Analysis of Constitutional Practice, p. 524. Buenos Aires: Astria. The link between President Mauricio Macri and his colleague Gabriela Michetti, who used to accompany and support the policies implemented by the government, without stressing or questioning them in their public appearances.
NS) collaborative relationship. In this case, the vice president has sufficient power or standing to confront the president. However, it seeks to build a collaborative dynamic where the two people contribute their own political capital, and also have ideologically compatible profiles. A clear example of this collaborative link can be found in the relationship between former Bolivian President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro García Linera.
NS) voltage ratio. This type of relationship occurs in cases where the vice president has enough power to emphasize and criticize the president’s policy agenda, when he sees that it is in the wrong direction. However, the differences are usually circumvented before a collapse that could lead to a government crisis. The last public message from Cristina Fernández de Kirchner after the electoral defeat of the Frente de Todos on September 12? Where he openly questions the economic policies implemented by the president and his ministry?, can fall into the framework of this kind of association, where political differences do not inevitably lead to rupture, as the deputy herself expressed in her writing: I suffered from a vice president who openly opposes our government. Argentine men and women rest easy… that would never happen to me.
Dr) conflict relationship. In this case, political differences cannot be resolved internally, and there is an open rupture in the ties that, under certain conditions, puts the president in the face of a governmental crisis. Carlos’s resignationChachoAlvarez in 2000 can be cited as an example; As well as the “unfavorable” vote made by Vice President Julio Cobos in the Senate during 2008, in the context of the so-called “rural conflict”. Outside of Argentina, the role played by Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer in the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in 2016, which later led to him taking the position of Vice President of the First Court, can be cited as an example.
The bottom line is, for the political scientist Fernandez, “Beyond the powers conferred in constitutional designs, the relationship between the two elements of executive power generated a variety of political dynamics in different presidential countries. This correlation is dynamic, i.e. can it swing from conflict to cooperation, and vice versa. Throughout the cycle of government. On some occasions, the relationship between the president and his vice president made it possible to direct the administration of the first president; while on others it led to political fissures, the collapse of alliances, and the downfall of the government.”
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