Argentine president-elect says ‘patience’ needed

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A day after the country’s first presidential runoff, Argentina’s president-elect conservative Mauricio Macri says “a little more patience” is needed to know the “real state” of public accounts before he takes office on December 10.

Argentine president-elect says ‘patience’ needed

Divided Argentina awakes to post-Kirchner era

Buenos Aires (Argentina)

– 23 November 2015 10:50


Argentina’s new pro-market president-elect Mauricio Macri on Monday promised deep change in Latin America’s third-biggest economy and called for unity after his narrow election win laid bare the country’s divisions.

Macri, 56, the favored candidate of big businesses and foreign investors, beat his leftist rival Daniel Scioli by less than three percentage points in Sunday’s vote, ending years of rule by the populist Peronist movement in a major political shift.

In his first news conference as president-elect, he vowed to get straight to work on an economic action plan to tackle slowing growth and soaring inflation.

But he acknowledged the need to reach out to rivals, as analysts warned he may struggle to get his liberal economic reforms past hostile lawmakers.

“We are going to work actively to form an economic cabinet as soon as possible,” said the grey-haired former football executive, looking tired after late night celebrations with supporters.

“We need to know what state the public finances are in, to know where to start on December 10,” when he will take over from the leftist Peronist President Cristina Kirchner.

Breaking with 12 years of leftist rule, Macri has vowed to ease foreign trade and lift dollar restrictions. Scioli has warned this risks triggering a major devaluation of the peso, weakening ordinary Argentines’ buying power.

Macri promised to “build bridges” with rivals to leave behind “the tensions we have experienced in recent years.”

“I have full confidence that this change of era will be a profound one.”

– Argentine political shift –

Macri’s victory marks a sharp political shift in Argentina.

It breaks the grip of Peronism, the broad populist movement that has dominated Argentine politics for much of the past 70 years.

Macri and Scioli fought a tense battle for votes in a country largely weary after 12 years under Kirchner and her predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner.

Official results gave Macri 51.4 percent of the votes and 48.6 percent for Scioli, with 99 percent of ballots counted.

Macri said he would meet with Kirchner on Tuesday.

Scioli conceded defeat on Sunday but others in the Peronist camp were more defiant.

Kirchner’s chief adviser Anibal Fernandez called the result “a draw”.

“There was a very small difference” in the number of votes, he told reporters on Monday. “It is not a difference that shows we were wrong.”

Macri is expected to have warmer relations with countries such as Britain and the United States.

Kirchner has had sharp words for them at times, including with Britain in the territorial dispute over the Falkland Islands, known in Spanish as Las Malvinas.

“We want to build good relations with all of Latin America and with the world,” Macri said.

However, he came out fighting against Venezuela’s left-wing leaders, whom he accuses of abusing the rights of political opposition members.

He said he would propose to fellow members of the Mercosur South American trade bloc that they expel Venezuela from the group.

Macri has vowed to negotiate with foreign creditors who have sued Argentina in the US courts for unpaid debts. Kirchner branded hedge funds “vultures.”

Foreign investors welcomed Macri’s rise to power.

His victory “is likely to herald a much-needed shift towards orthodox economic policymaking”, said Edward Glossop, an analyst at research group Capital Economics in a note on Monday.

But “even if Mr. Macri were successful in implementing his programme, the necessary macro adjustment would create short-term pain,” he added.

He forecast that if Macri tightens fiscal and monetary policy, Argentina will likely fall into recession next year before recovering.


Tags : Needed, patience, says, Presidentelect, Argentine

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