Argentina: Background and U.S. Relations [August 11, 2015]   [open pdf - 845KB]

"Argentina, a South American country with a population of almost 42 million, has had a vibrant democratic tradition since its military relinquished power in 1983. Current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, from a center-left faction of the Peronist party, the Front for Victory (FPV), was first elected in 2007 (succeeding her husband, Néstor Kirchner, who served one term) and is now in the final months of her second term. Argentina's constitution does not allow for more than two successive terms, so President Fernández is ineligible to run in the next presidential election, with a first round scheduled for October 25, 2015. Eleven candidates competed in an August 9, 2015, combined open primary for electoral alliances, and three top candidates emerged: Daniel Scioli, governor of Buenos Aires province under the banner of President Fernández's FPV; Mauricio Macri, mayor of Buenos Aires, heading the Let's Change coalition that includes center-right and center-left opposition parties; and Sergio Massa, a deputy in Argentina's Congress, who heads a centrist dissident Peronist faction known as United for a New Alternative. Argentina has Latin America's third-largest economy and is endowed with vast natural resources. Agriculture has traditionally been a main economic driver, but the country also has a diversified industrial base and a highly educated population. In 2001-2002, a severe economic crisis precipitated by unsustainable debt led to the government defaulting on nearly $100 billion in foreign debt owed to private creditors, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and foreign governments."

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CRS Report for Congress, R43816
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