Kirchnerism Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirchnerism

LeaderCristina Kirchner
FounderNéstor Kirchner
Founded1 March 2003; 19 years ago (2003-03-01)
HeadquartersBuenos Aires
Youth wingThe Campora
MembershipJusticialist Party
Social democracy[4][5][6]
Left-wing populism[7][8]

K Radicalism[10]
Political positionCentre-left[12] to left-wing[13]
National affiliationFrente de Todos
Seats in the Chamber of Deputies
90 / 257
Seats in the Senate
32 / 72

Kirchnerism (Spanish: Kirchnerismo [kiɾʃneˈɾizmo]) is an Argentine political movement based on populist ideals formed by the supporters of Néstor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who consecutively served as Presidents of Argentina. Although considered a branch of Peronism, it is opposed by some factions of Peronists and generally considered to fall into the category of left-wing populism.[9][14][15][16]

Although originally a section in the Justicialist Party, Kirchnerism later received support from other smaller Argentine political parties (like the Communist Party or the Humanist Party) and from factions of some traditional parties (like the Radical Civic Union and the Socialist Party). In parties which are divided along Kirchnerist/Anti-Kirchnerist lines, the members of the Kirchnerist faction are often distinguished with the letter K (for instance "peronistas/justicialistas K", "radicales K" or "socialistas K") while the anti-Kirchnerist factions, those opposing Kirchnerism, are similarly labelled with the expression "anti-K".


Rally of youth belonging to La Cámpora, April 2012

Both Kirchner and Fernández come from the left-wing of Peronism and both began their political careers as members of the Peronist Youth (Juventud Peronista). Many of the Kirchners' closest allies belong to the Peronist left. Anti-Kirchnerists often criticize this ideological background with the term setentista ("seventies-ist"), suggesting that Kirchnerism is overly influenced by the populist struggle of the 1970s.

  • Initially, Kirchnerism has shown itself to be concerned with the defense of human rights, particularly in prosecuting those who committed human rights violations during the Dirty War and were later made immune from prosecution by the governments of Carlos Menem (1989–1999). The willingness of the Kirchner government to revoke these immunities has led many Argentine pressure groups, such as the Madres de Plaza de Mayo and Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, to take an actively Kirchnerist position.[17] This has led to many controversies and to allegations that the Kirchners were never fully committed to human rights, especially during the period of the last military dictatorship, and that it was only when Kirchner became President and began to make alliances with the left-wing parties in Congress and with the Madres de Plaza de Mayo that he started to campaign about these rights in order to promote his own platform and gain popular favor. It is documented nevertheless that the Kirchners did push for trial against human rights violators during the dictatorship, although late in that period in 1983, when its end was already in sight.[18]
  • Kirchnerism has shown itself to be expressly opposed to neoliberal policies. However, while governor of the province of Santa Cruz, Kirchner publicly supported neoliberal President Carlos Menem,[citation needed] going as far as claiming that "since the times of that great General (Perón) there hasn't been a president that has listened so much to the southern Patagonia and Santa Cruz in particular".[19]
  • Economically, Kirchnerism has pursued an economic policy of industrialist developmentalism. Tariffs protect local industry and employment.
  • Kirchnerism has strongly opposed multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements pursued by the United States.[citation needed]
  • Internationally, Kirchnerism has strongly supported Mercosur and vice versa, to the point that the President of Mercosur, Carlos Álvarez, is a Kirchnerist.
  • One of the most prominent aims of Kirchnerism is to strengthen Argentine relations with the countries of Latin America and to establish a South American economic axis. Recent economic measures posited by Fernández's government have nevertheless hurt Argentina's relationship with these countries, mainly Brazil[20] and Uruguay, whose President José "Pepe" Mujica expressed worries regarding Argentina going towards an "autarkist" form of government and the Kirchnerist economic model "complicating relationships and multiplying difficulties" in bilateral commerce.[21]
  • Kirchnerism, in particular former minister of health Ginés González García, has shown a liberal attitude to birth control and sexuality, including the legalization of same-sex marriage, both of which have provoked the opposition of the Catholic Church and other conservative sectors.[22]


Five Economic Tenets[edit]

According to Alberto Fernández, the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers during the first 5 years of Kirchnerism and currently serving as President of Argentina, they followed five tenets regarding the economy, which explained the perceived early success of the movement:[23]

  1. "Take no measures that increase the fiscal deficit"
  2. "Take no measures that increase the trade deficit"
  3. "Accumulate reserves in the central bank"
  4. "Keep the exchange rate very high to stay competitive and favor exports"
  5. "Pay off the external debt and do not acquire new debt"

According to Fernández, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner moved away from these five tenets after her husband's death, causing an economic crisis that resulted in the first political defeat of Kirchnerism in a presidential election in 2015. However in the presidential election of 2019, Kirchnerism returned to power with the election of Alberto Fernández as President and Cristina Kirchner as Vice President.[24][25] However in the 2021 legislative elections on 14 November 2021, the Frente de Todos lost its majority in Congress for the first time in almost 40 years in midterm legislative elections. The election victory of the center-right coalition, Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change), meant a tough final two years in office for President Alberto Fernandez. Losing control of the Senate made it difficult for him to make key appointments, including to the judiciary. It also forced him to negotiate with the opposition every initiative he sends to the legislature.[26][27] However, it remained the largest force in Congress.


Unlike his predecessor Eduardo Duhalde, Kirchner was a Peronist that distrusted the Justicialist Party as a support for his government. He proposed instead a "transversalist" policy, seeking the support of progressive politicians regardless of their party.[28] Thus he got support from factions of the Justicialist Party, the Radical Civic Union (which were called "Radicales K") and small centre-left parties.

Kirchner neglected the internal politics of the Justicialist Party and kept instead the Front for Victory party, which was initially an electoral alliance in his home province of Santa Cruz and in the 2003 elections premiered in the federal political scene. Some politicians favored by this policy were Aníbal Ibarra, mayor of Buenos Aires for the Broad Front and supported as Kirchnerist; and Julio Cobos, governor of Mendoza for the UCR and elected as Vice President of Fernández de Kirchner in 2007.

Decline of the Transversalist project[edit]

The transversalist project was eventually dismissed. Kirchner took control of the Justicialist Party and some "Radicales K", slowly returned to the "anti-K" faction of their party, most notably Vice President Julio Cobos and Governor of Catamarca province Eduardo Brizuela del Moral, while other very prominent Radical politicians remained in the "K" wing of the Radical Civic Union such as provincial governors Gerardo Zamora of Santiago del Estero, Ricardo Colombi of Corrientes and Miguel Saiz of Río Negro. After the 2011 general elections, several K radicals regretted having been part of that political space, turning once again to the opposition UCR. Such is the case of Miguel Saiz, former governor of Río Negro, who declared: "My commitment to the Concertación ended in December 2011".

Resurgence of K Radicalism[edit]

In March 2015, dissatisfied with the UCR's alliance with Mauricio Macri's Republican Proposal (PRO), the National Alfonsinist Movement (MNA) led by Leopoldo Moreau joined the Front for Victory. For this reason, Ernesto Sanz, the president of the UCR, announced the expulsion of Moreau from the party.[29] Professor Gustavo Melella was reelected as mayor of the city of Río Grande in 2015, through the FORJA Concertación Party. During the presidency of Alberto Fernández, Ricardo Alfonsin was appointed as the Ambassador to Spain.

Electoral history[edit]

Presidential elections[edit]

Election year Candidate(s) First Round Second Round Result Note
# votes % vote # votes % vote
2003 Néstor Kirchner 4,312,517 22.25 Null 0 Green tickY 2nd-R Unopposed within Front for Victory
2007 Cristina Kirchner 8,651,066 45.29 Green tickY Elected
2011 11,865,055 54.11 Green tickY Elected
2015 Daniel Scioli 9,338,490 37.08 12,317,330 48.66 Red XN 2nd-R Defeated
2019 Alberto Fernandez 12,946,037 48.24 Green tickY Elected within Frente de Todos

Congressional elections[edit]

Chamber of Deputies[edit]

Election year votes % seats won Total seats Position Presidency Note
2003 5,511,420 35.1
58 / 130
129 / 257
Majority Eduardo Duhalde (PJ) including the other PJ factions
2005 5,071,094 29.9
50 / 127
75 / 257
Minority Néstor Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
2007 5,557,087
56 / 130
106 / 257
Minority Néstor Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
2009 1,679,084 8.8
14 / 127
70 / 257
Minority Cristina Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
2011 10,121,311 49.1
76 / 130
90 / 257
Minority Cristina Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
2013 7,487,839 33.2
42 / 127
132 / 257
Majority Cristina Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
2015 8,237,074
60 / 130
96 / 257
Minority Cristina Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
2019 11,606,411 45.3
64 / 130
119 / 257
Minority Alberto Fernández (FdT—PJ)

Senate elections[edit]

Election year votes % seats won Total seats Position Presidency Note
2003 1,852,456 40.7
13 / 24
41 / 72
Majority Eduardo Duhalde (PJ) including the other PJ factions
2005 3,572,361 45.1
14 / 24
14 / 72
Minority Néstor Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
2007 1,048,187
8 / 24
22 / 72
Minority Néstor Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
2009 756,695
4 / 24
12 / 72
Minority Cristina Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
2011 5,470,241 54.6
13 / 24
24 / 72
Minority Cristina Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
2013 1,608,866 32.1
11 / 24
40 / 72
Majority Cristina Kirchner (FPV—PJ)
12 / 24
39 / 72
Majority Cristina Kirchner (FPV—PJ)


Kirchnerism has encountered opposition from various sectors of Argentine society, which tend to criticize its personalism.[30]

In 2012, there was a massive anti-Kirchnerism protest in several cities within Argentina and also in several Argentinian embassies around the world. It became known as 8N.

In 2015, when Foreign Policy was discussing corruption in Latin America it was stated that:[31]

The viceroys of the colonial era set the pattern. They centralised power and bought the loyalty of local interest groups. [...] Caudillos, dictators and elected presidents continued the tradition of personalising power. Venezuela's chavismo and the kirchnerismo of Ms Fernández are among today’s manifestations.

In an editorial published in October 2015, The Economist expressed the following view about the situation in Argentina:[32]

Argentina needs change. As Ms Fernández slips out of office the economy is starting to crumble. Currency controls and trade restrictions [...] are choking productivity; inflation hovers at around 25%. [...] Argentina cannot seek external financing until it ends its standoff with creditors who rejected a debt-restructuring plan. Unless the new president quickly reverses Ms Fernández’s populist policies, a crisis is inevitable"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goodman, Peter S. (10 May 2019). "Argentina's Economic Misery Could Bring Populism Back to the Country". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  2. ^ Ruckert, Arne; Macdonald, Laura; Proulx, Kristina R. (2017). "Post-neoliberalism in Latin America: a conceptual review". Third World Quarterly. 38 (7): 1583–1602. doi:10.1080/01436597.2016.1259558.
  3. ^ Melber, Henning; Brand, Ulrich; Nicola, Selkler. Postneoliberalism – A Beginning Debate. Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. ISBN 978-9185214525.
  4. ^ Veltri, Gustavo. "La idea de Kirchner de afiliar al PJ a la socialdemocracia generó revuelo interno". www.cronista.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-01-02.
  5. ^ Kaufman 2011, p. 103.
  6. ^ "El peronismo, entre la socialdemocracia y la izquierda".
  7. ^ "Argentine Peso Dives After Populist Peronists Gain Edge in Vote". The Wall Street Journal. August 12, 2019.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Arias, Mariela (17 June 2019). "Tierra del Fuego: Melella se impuso a Bertone en primera vuelta". Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  10. ^ Velasco, Andrés (2014-08-31). "Argentina's Use and Abuse of Keynes | by Andrés Velasco". Project Syndicate. Retrieved 2022-03-16.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Conniff, Michael L. (31 July 2012). Populism in Latin America: Second Edition. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 9780817357092.
  14. ^ Denissen, Marieke (1 October 2008). Winning Small Battles, Losing the War: Police Violence, the Movimiento Del Dolor and Democracy in Post-authoritarian Argentina. Rozenberg Publishers. ISBN 9051709641.
  15. ^ Manzetti, Luigi (1 January 2009). Neoliberalism, Accountability, and Reform Failures in Emerging Markets: Eastern Europe, Russia, Argentina, and Chile in Comparative Perspective. Penn State Press. ISBN 0271035749.
  16. ^ Reencuentro de Carlotto y Bonafini. Las titulares de las Abuelas y Madres de Plaza de Mayo fueron reunidas por Kirchner, Clarín 26 de mayo de 2006.
  17. ^ "Nestor Kirchner pide juicio a las Juntas Militares en 1983" - Video in Spanish.
  18. ^ "Kirchner: 'Menem el mejor presidente desde Perón". - Video in Spanish.
  19. ^ "Brasil intimó a Cristina: 'Tienen que desaparecer las barreras'" - Article in Spanish.
  20. ^ "José Mujica acusó a la Argentina de tener un proyecto 'autárquico' de país" - Article in Spanish.
  21. ^ Ginés García legalizaría el aborto, La Nación, 15 de febrero de 2005. Archived 2 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Las 5 medidas de Alberto Fernández para levantar la economía". www.tiempoar.com.ar (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  23. ^ Aires, Reuters in Buenos (2019-12-10). "'We're back': Alberto Fernández sworn in as Argentina shifts to the left". the Guardian. Retrieved 2021-11-21.
  24. ^ "Argentina election: Macri out as Cristina Fernández de Kirchner returns to office as VP". the Guardian. 2019-10-28. Retrieved 2021-11-21.
  25. ^ "Peronists may lose Argentina Congress for first time in 40 years".
  26. ^ Bronstein, Hugh; Misculin, Nicolás (15 November 2021). "Argentina's Peronists on the ropes after bruising midterm defeat". Reuters.
  27. ^ Fraga, p. 46–47.
  28. ^ "La UCR expulsó a Leopoldo Moreau". www.latecla.info (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-11-20.
  29. ^ Néstor Kirchner y Cristina Fernández con la Legrand: “Yo completaré mi mandato”, Página/12, 16 de mayo de 2003.
  30. ^ "Democracy to the rescue?". Foreign Policy. 14 March 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  31. ^ "The end of kirchnerismo". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 21 November 2015.


  • Rosendo Fraga (2010) Fin de ciKlo: ascenso, apogeo y declinación del poder kirchnerista, Buenos Aires, Ediciones B.

External links[edit]