Why is there no succession in Peronism?

If formal rhetoric is set aside, Perón seemed to have conceived the ideal movement in terms of semi-formal statusalmost colloidal [sistema heterogéneo y disperso]able to constantly challenge Argentine stability. Beyond the paraphernalia of organizational terms that can be found in documents of that time, the idea that Perón himself seems to have had of the forms of struggle of his movement is presented as a curious luck of semi-anarchy (…) A kind of disjointed, chaotic and eclectic federation of groups loyal to perón.”

This is how he explains historian daniel james in his acclaimed work “Resistance and Integration” Perón’s attitude in exile towards Augusto Vandorwho was challenging him to succeed him as leader of the movement.

Cristina Kirchner sent a message to the heart of the PJ and left Peronism in shock

Why did the succession depend solely on Juan Perón? Because how do you explain it? Tulio Halperin Donghi in “Argentina in the alley” the horrible of the voters I was in it and only in it the guarantee that social rights would stand. Personalism in Peronism is fundamental and not only because it is promoted by the young colonel. Let’s see an example: in December 1945, with Perón already out of government, nobody would thank him the creation of the bonus President Edelmiro Farrell, even though it was he who decreed it mandatory, nor the CGT, which for decades had obtained little or nothing compared to the rights granted by former labor secretary Juan Perón. The reading of society was that whoever risked his skin for the changes was Perónno other.

Then, the fidelity of the Peronists is directly proportional to the effectiveness of the audacity of the driver: This is how Carlos Menem jumped into the pool with the market reforms in 1989, Néstor Kirchner advanced with the Supreme Court trial as soon as he took office and Cristina Kirchner He fought for the nationalization of the AFJP. In all three cases the result was uncertain, in all three cases they were successful and in all three cases they consolidated the loyalty of the bases.

Extreme personalism in a reformist or revolutionary movement did not occur only in Argentina, but the Argentine case is particular because the leader blocked any possibility of succession.

Cardenas and Vargas

In the Mexico of 1940, the president Lazaro Cardenas, creator of what would later be the PRI, could run for re-election, but not do so and institutionalize a succession that continues to this day: the Mexican president would be lord and master for six years, then a living dead. The current president andres lopez obrador he tried to defy that destiny and it did not go well for him: in two years he will be a living dead.

In Brazil in 1945, getulio vargas he was forced by the conservatives and by the United States to retire to his farm. There Braden won. In 1954, in his last term, being once again cornered by the right, Vargas decided that he would not go to jail or exile. He commits suicide. In the worst way, he managed to pass the baton to several Varguista presidents until the military coup of 1964.

In the case of Juan Perón, the ultrapersonalism he was crowned by stamping in article 78 of the 1949 Constitution the indefinite re-election, that is, an endless leadership.

Campora Perón, Lanusse, Santucho.  20210712

Perón had two more opportunities to generate a succession and dodged them. When he was banned from the March 1973 elections by the dictator Augustine Lanussehe appointed a candidate whom he would quickly humiliate in order to force his downfall, Hector Campora. When he had to choose his running mate for the following elections in September 1973, he did not nominate Ítalo Luder or Lorenzo Miguel or any other leader with a political back, but rather his inexperienced wife.

After me, the deluge.

Menem and Kirchner

The most assertive of the Peronist presidents when expressing his ambitions for indefinite re-election and that there will never be a successor was carlos menem. He handed over the autonomy of the Federal Capital, the Judicial Council, the third senator, the Electoral College and the ballotage to achieve consecutive re-election. In addition, they improved that it was not prevented from returning with a mandate in between, in his case, returning in 2003.

But Carlos Menem was succeeded in leading the movement by Nestor Kirchner. How is that achieved?

It is achieved with eduardo duhalde maneuvering with all the weapons of the national state and the Buenos Aires state, in addition to the essential help of the Judiciary that not only prohibited the PJ from having inmates -which Menem would undoubtedly win- but also prevented the Justicialista Party from presenting a candidate in 2003.

Néstor and Cristina Kirchner learned from Menem’s mistake and never allowed another leadership of Peronism in the province of Buenos Aires that was not their own.

Duhalde finishes off the “Menemóvil” with which the PJ won in 1995 (and lost in ’99)


“It’s not that the Peronists are very good, but that those who came later were worse.” That phrase by Perón is fundamental to understanding the survival of Peronism. “Those Who Came Later” or what the PC has in front of him is the enthusiastic application (PRO, Javier Miley) or guilty (UCR) of a rationalization program for the Argentine economy, or, in other words, the application of structural adjustment -not the conjunctural or inflationary one like that of the current administration-. They try to sell this plan as “development”, but it is not and what it implies is clear: that only the sectors with dollar surpluses survive, which in Argentina are only two.

A Peronist does not seek to apply a determined economic plan like the liberals of the PRO or like the libertarians. A Peronist seeks to win and then re-elect without stopping. That’s his plan. But to win, the national economy cannot be fully rationalized, because the level of artificiality of this economy, compared to those of the region, is much higher. Millions of voters would be thrown into destitution within months.

That is why there is a Peronist against this program of rationalization or structural adjustment: Cristina Kirchner. She won the loyalty of the bulk of the PJ voters at the price of breaking macroeconomics, which led from twin surpluses to twin deficits, and applies to the letter the peron recipe: ambiguous speech, full of paraphernalia.

axel kicillof cristina kirchner g_20221227

Cristina wants the same thing that Carlos Menem wanted, but, being a woman and not an alpha male, she recognizes her moments of vulnerability and the importance of proceeding with subtlety. She collided head-on in the 2013 PASO with her third term attempt and since that defeat she has let names go nowhere: before Beloved Boudou either Jorge Capitanichnow Peter’s Wado. In the coming months, he will try to make us believe that he is appointing a successor to whom he closed the possibility of a third term in those STEP of 2013.

This is how the Justicialista Party is heading towards what will probably be its worst presidential election in history.


Pythagoras asserted that “the beginning is more than half of the whole”. In the origins of Peronism and by the will of its founder, all possibilities of succession were blocked. In this characteristic that is sustained to this day, we must look for the core and the key to its growing weakness.

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