After Lula’s victory in Brazil, Argentina seeks to postpone the IDB elections

The government wants to postpone the election scheduled for November 20 until January and promote, together with Brazil and other South American countries, its own candidate to replace Mauricio Claver-Carone.

Lula’s victory in Brazil has an impact on the fight for the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the largest regional credit organization and, in a measure that could generate controversy, Argentina will now seek postpone until January the election scheduled for November 20 and promote, together with Brazil and other South American countries, a candidate of their own.

Mauricio Claver Carone, the first president of the IDB of American origin, was removed from his post in September by the Board of Governorsfor maintaining an affair with a co-worker who received a 40% salary increase. The race was immediately launched for the coveted position that would now go back to a Latin American, as indicated by the tradition that Claver, a dolphin of former President Donald Trump, had broken.

A timetable for the election was set last week. The Governors, who are usually the finance ministers or other high authorities of the 48 member countries, will be able to nominate a candidate until November 11. Then, on November 13, there will be a virtual session in which the governors will introduce the candidates, who will present their plans and answer questions. The final vote will be on November 20. But the election in Brazil may turn that schedule upside down.

A few weeks ago, Jair Bolsonaro anticipated and nominated Ilan Goldfajn, the head of the IMF for the Western Hemisphere, and the man who oversees the agency’s program with Argentina, who has already taken leave of the Fund’s duties to be able to run for the position. . Former head of the Brazilian Central Bank, Goldfajn has the backing of Minister Paulo Guedes who, although he had talked in Washington with Sergio Massa about the possibility of bringing a consensus candidate, moved first to nominate the man from the Fund.

Lula’s victory moved the board, but on November 20 the leader of the PT will not have taken office yet. Will Bolsonaro insist with Goldfajn, without Lula’s endorsement? Or will he put it down?

as far as he could tell Clarion, Argentina seeks to avoid this possibility and buy time by postponing the election until January to present, together with Brazil and South America, a consensus candidate. Seek Lula’s endorsement for this move and go for more: Massa will fight for the applicant to be Argentine. It will be necessary to see if Brazil, which like Argentina never had an IDB president, gives him that position.

Argentina was very close to achieving it in the last election. Gustavo Beliz was already putting on his suit when Claver Carone emerged as a candidate supported by Trump, Bolsonaro’s Brazil, the Caribbean countries and others that turned the balance. Could the former secretary run again? “I don’t think it’s Belize”, they say in the environment of Massa, although they do not want to enter, for now, in the game of names.

The postponement request has not yet been made official. Asked about the possibility of postponing them, the IDB only told Clarín that “the dates have been set and for the moment there will be no changes.”

Eugenio Diaz Bonilla, former director of the IDB for Argentina, told Clarín that “the voting regulations approved by the Board of Governors require that the vote be between 46 and 60 calendar days after the termination of the President’s contract. A meeting of governors would have to be called and they would vote to change that. I find it difficult”.

The United States has 30% of the vote in the IDB and its endorsement is crucial. Brazil has 11.4% of the votes, Argentina 11.3% and Mexico 7.3%. Venezuela has 3.4% and Colombia and Chile 3.1% each. The Mexicans cut themselves off, with the presentation of Alicia Bárcena, former head of ECLAC, whom Washington observes as “very left-wing.” The Ecuadorian economist Augusto de la Torre also aspires. Former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla got off.

With this scenario, there are experts who believe that it would be easier for Brazil (with Lula), Argentina and other countries to agree to present someone. And let Bolsonaro vote for whoever he wants. They point out that if Argentina, Brazil with Lula and other countries unite behind someone, they have a good chance of winning because the US is going to join and they then drag the rest.

However, as he learned Clarion from sources in Brasilia linked to the elected president, to Goldfajn “Lula is not going to rule it out” so easily because “he is a highly respected technician.” They point out that he was in Michel Temer’s team, where a good part of the officials who are with Lula today come from. It is possible that they give him some time so that he does not see himself linked to Bolsonaro. “It may be that they postpone the election, but it should not be translated into Goldfajn getting off”they warn.

consulted by Clarin, Arturo Porzecanski, A researcher at the Center for Latin American Studies at American University who closely follows the IDB issue, said he believes the Bolsonaro government “will continue to strongly support Goldfajn’s candidacy.”

The expert highlights, “Goldfajn has two things very much going for it. One, that it is the only one of the names that are being considered that he is eminently qualified for the position. And the other is that a candidate proposed by Brazil, the second largest shareholder of the IDB, which has never had a candidate before. So to make a maneuver to frustrate his reigning government would be to give Brazil a very strong slap as a country ”.

Would a postponement motion by the majority of countries be conceivable, despite Brazil’s objection? “In theory, yes,” says Porzecanski, “but if it were to happen, it would be due to an unprecedented politicization of the IDB, which from now on would have to adapt its cycle of leaders according to the cycle of elections in various countries in the region, something that It would be unmanageable.”

Washington. Correspondent

After Lula’s victory in Brazil, Argentina seeks to postpone the IDB elections