Security, Politics & Public Policy

The Case of Argentina's 2015 Presidential Election

Security, Politics & Public Policy | The Case of Argentina's 2015 Presidential Election

A Visiting Researcher Presentation by Dr. Mercedes Calzado

On January 30, 2018, The Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) welcomed Dr. Mercedes Calzado to present her research on security, politics, and public policy in relation to Argentina’s 2015 Presidential Election. Dr. Calzado, a current Visiting Researcher at CLAS and editor of the online blog “Observatorio: Comunicación, Política y Seguridad”, which is associated with the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, spoke to a group of students and faculty on the politicization of violence and security during the 2015 Argentine Presidential elections.

Photo of Mercedes Calzado

Dr. Calzado performed research on the regional tendency to use the issues of security and violence as an electoral publicity tool during the election between conservative candidates Mauricio Macri, Kirchnerista candidate Daniel Scioli, and a number of other candidates in the 2015 elections. Dr. Calzado's research findings suggest that there was little correlation between actual crime rates in Argentina in 2015 and the high amount of media and political attention paid to issues like police efficacy and public safety. However, Dr. Calzado also admitted it was difficult to ascertain the actual change in crime rates since 2007, when Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s administration began to alter official statistics reported by the government.

Using a three-pronged matrix to study the effects of television campaign spots, news coverage, and social media on the public perception of crime rates in Argentina, Dr. Calzado concluded that presidential candidates used public fear to politicize the issues of security. Candidates appealed to the electorate either by aligning themselves with the victim, or taking the "strong leadership approach", giving emphasis to efforts to transform and modernize the police force. Since taking on the role of president at the end of December 2015, President Mauricio Macri has attempted to reform and redeploy some 20,000 Federal Police to local police forces outside of Buenos Aires, actions that highlight his "strong leadership" approach to this issue.


This event was sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies.
Summary written by Natalie Kaliss (BSFS ’18)