Præsident Nestor Kirchners magtposition: En undersøgelse af præsidentielle dekreter i Argentina, 2003 til 2007

Rune Crone Bech

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis deals with the presidential power of the former Argentinean president Nestor Kirchner. Adopting the theoretical framework of Matthew Shugart and John Carey, the dissertation focuses on the use of emergency decrees and stipulates the essential characteristics of this use. In doing so it aims to show the possible implications of the use of emergency decrees on presidential powers and Argentinean democracy. Both on a theoretical and practical level the thesis stresses the importance of distinguishing between administrative decrees and emergency decrees. Consequently the analysis shows that emergency decrees only account for a small number of the total decrees published. The thesis then seeks to establish the frequency of president Kirchner´s emergency decrees. The analysis finds that Kirchner issued 40.4 emergency decrees per year. This frequency of decrees issued is found to be high in comparison to other law making during Kirchner’s term in office. The investigation of the content of the emergency decrees found that they were partly used to issue legislation dealing with economic restoration as well as social policies. The content of the emergency decree tend to be employed however in two policy areas mainly: employment and salary conditions in the public sector, and extra appropriations on the state budget. Subsequently I argue two strategies can be identified for the use of emergency decrees. Firstly, the content of the emergency decrees is, to some degree, centred on what can be described as key issues of concern for Kirchner’s administration i.e. the restoration of the Argentinean economy, and social politics. Secondly, the thesis argues that, to a larger degree, the strategy behind the emergency decrees should be characterized as part of a leadership ideology. This argument is supported by the main tendency in the contents of the emergency decrees, which display no characteristics of urgency or necessity as their motive. Other motives such as the legislative assembly’s incapacity to act on, or reluctance to approve of, Kirchner’s policy proposals are all dismissed as unlikely. Furthermore, it is shown that Kirchner used his constitutional decree authority to a much larger extent than the delegated decree authority. The thesis attempts to prove that the characteristics in Kirchner´s use of emergency decrees are similar in many ways to those of former Argentinean president Carlos Menem. Furthermore it is argued that the characteristics found in Kirchner’s use of emergency decrees are not unique features of Argentina. Similar characteristics are found in cases such as former president Yeltsin’s use of emergency decrees in Russia in the 90s and in the case of former president Fujimori’s use of emergency decrees in Peru in that same period of time. The thesis points to some consequences of Kirchner´s use of emergency decrees. The use shows a continuing accumulation of power within the Executive. In doing so, it has contributed to altering the balance of power in Executive-Legislative relations. Finally, it is shown that the change in power with the Argentinean president must be viewed as so extensive that – in a comparative study of power of other presidents – it must be placed in the category of “very powerful”. As a result, it is argued, in accordance with the theoretical framework of the thesis, that Argentina may be at greater risk of democratic instability in the future.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages88