Argentina Pres. election; Right win - Politics | PoFo

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The centre-right candidate has won in Argentina's Pres. election.

Not sure what his prospects will be. The presidential system means a stiff separation of powers so he might not get much through the Arg. federal Congress.


After 12 years of leftist government, Argentina moved towards the centre-right on Sunday, as Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri of the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) party sealed victory in the country’s presidential election. He will replace Christina Fernández de Kirchner in the Casa Rosada presidential palace, with the outgoing president stepping down from office on 10 December.

Factors behind Macri’s surprise victory include rising concerns among voters about increasing inflation, slowing growth and current crime rates. But opponents fear a return to the neoliberal policies of the 1990s that ended with the country’s economic collapse in 2002, and also worry a vote for Macri could mark a weaker stance on human rights.

The election result confirms a sharp change of direction for South America’s second biggest economy, following 12 years of leftwing “Kirchnerism,”
They have a reasonably strong presidency so he can make significant changes:

The Economist wrote:HIS supporters celebrated like the fans of a football team that had won an upset victory in a cup final. Car horns blared. Firecrackers lit up the sky. Yells of “vamos!” rang out among Buenos Aires’s Parisian-style apartment buildings. But the upset they were cheering was political, not athletic. On November 22nd Mauricio Macri, the mayor of the city of Buenos Aires, narrowly defeated Daniel Scioli, governor of Buenos Aires province, in a run-off to become Argentina’s next president.

The result is hugely significant, not just for Argentina but for South America. Mr Scioli ran as the heir of the country’s current president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a charismatic but divisive populist. The election of Mr Macri, who campaigned under the banner of a coalition of parties called Cambiemos (“Let’s Change”), represents a repudiation of her legacy. He will be the first president in nearly a century who is neither a Peronist nor a member of the movement’s weaker rival, the Radical Civic Union.

For the past dozen years Ms Fernández and her husband (and predecessor as president), Néstor Kirchner, who died in 2010, have imposed controls on Argentina’s economy, which have crimped production and gradually pushed up inflation. They aligned the country with authoritarian regimes and tried to undermine independent institutions such as the media, the judiciary and the Central Bank. Mr Macri promises a return to economic, democratic and diplomatic norms.

His victory, by a margin of around three percentage points, looked unlikely until a month ago. Despite a sagging economy and allegations, which she denies, of self-enrichment while in power, Ms Fernández remains relatively popular. Mr Scioli thought her endorsement and the backing of the Peronist movement would bring him victory. By comparison, Mr Macri, a former president of the Boca Juniors football team and the son of a tycoon, looked like an outsider. He launched his centre-right party, Republican Proposal, just a decade ago. Until this year it had little presence outside the capital.

In the first round of voting in October Mr Macri came a surprisingly close second to Mr Scioli. That gave Mr Macri’s campaign a jolt of energy. In the second round he inherited much of the support that had gone to Sergio Massa, a dissident Peronist, in the first. He persuaded Argentines that his promise of change applies to the parts of kirchnerismo they don’t like, not to the ones they do, such as Ms Fernández’s generous welfare programmes and the nationalisation of YPF, an oil giant.

In some respects, Mr Macri will be able to set a new tone as soon as he is inaugurated on December 10th. His leadership style will be less confrontational than Ms Fernández’s. He will move quickly to shake up the statistics agency, which has been issuing misleading reports on inflation and poverty, and is expected to signal his commitment to judicial independence by naming unimpeachable candidates to fill two vacancies on the Supreme Court.

Fixing the economy, which has barely grown since October 2011, will be harder. The inflation rate has risen to around 25%, the peso is overvalued and the fiscal deficit is expected to be at least 6% of GDP this year. To put Argentina back on a path to growth, Mr Macri needs to dismantle the draconian currency and trade controls imposed by Ms Fernández in 2011 to prevent capital flight. The “clamp” on the purchase of foreign currency by individuals and businesses created an unofficial dual exchange-rate regime. That must now be unified by means of a devaluation. To keep the peso from falling too fast, Mr Macri must quickly find dollars, which are in short supply. “The Central Bank’s firepower is essentially zero,” says Luis Secco of [email protected], a consultancy. On November 21st the Central Bank told commercial banks to sell two-thirds of their dollar holdings to reinforce its own foreign-currency reserves.

The simplest way to raise dollars is to borrow on international markets, but for Mr Macri that will not be easy. To raise funds at reasonable rates, the government must reach an agreement with bondholders who had pushed Argentina into a default in July 2014. But such an agreement requires the consent of Congress, where Mr Macri’s party and its allies are in a minority. The new president’s success will depend greatly on whether he can attract the support of some Peronists in Congress. His narrow margin of victory could make that harder.

He will have an easier time reorienting Argentina’s foreign policy. Mr Macri wants to “rebalance” relations away from China, Venezuela, Russia and Iran and towards normal relations with the United States and Europe. He says he will call on Mercosur, a six-country South American trade grouping, to invoke its democracy clause to suspend Venezuela from membership unless the parliamentary election there on December 6th is conducted democratically and opposition political leaders are released from prison. No other Latin American president has been so outspoken. His victory leaves Venezuela looking much more isolated.

In turning to a politician of the centre-right to lead the country, Argentina may be setting a precedent for the rest of the region. The normal desire of voters in democracies for an alternation of power is now playing against the incumbent governments of the left. Brazil’s left-wing president, Dilma Rousseff, is deeply unpopular. The party that leads Venezuela’s radical socialist regime is likely to be defeated in next month’s election. Mr Macri’s victory may thus mark the ebbing of the “pink tide” that has washed over the region since the early 1990s.

South America is not about to go back to the past. The left put inequality on the region’s agenda and it is likely to remain there. But other issues are now equally pressing: clean government and a return to rapid economic growth. In Argentina the centre-right now has a chance to make these issues its own. Mr Macri’s victory may well be the shape of things to come.

This article - although it does call it a landslide and so on - I don't know if it identifies the continental earthquake that's happening in South America from Venezuela to Brazil to Argentina in breaking up populist regimes. Particularly in Venezuela and Argentina, these governments are being overthrown for profligacy and incompetency - massive inflation, a battered economy, looting their energy sectors without investing in them.

I do hope that Macri does better than his liberal-conservative predecessors in the 90s at managing the country - they had a terrible and historic default that sent the country into another crash of poverty. Kirchnerism offered something new but has ended up only in yet another careening series of bankrupticies and economic isolation and ruin. The country needs a new direction and this election offers it and hopefully it finally finds a right course.
I'm concerned about his social positions, but looking through his positions he's not really all that right wing (from an american perspective).

He wants to create a basic income for the elderly, make school mandatory, spend a bunch of money on infrastructure, etc. Certainly there are a few key issues in his platform I disagree with, but he's no trump.

I am slightly concerned about social issues though, I couldn't find much but he is a pro-lifer...
Argentina is a mess, it's unsurprising the Kirchnerists would be defeated sooner or later.

Now, it should not be forgotten that the Kirchnerists at least got the economy restarted after the 2001 collapse. But, instead of trying to modernise the economy, they basically went to engage in some ISI strategy and tried to turn the clock back in time to the '50s and '60s in terms of economic policy.

Let's see if Macri can fix this mess, but I'm skeptical about it for a host of reasons (not least because this is Argentina we're talking about).
The Kirchners have attempted a process of industrialisation and recomposition of workers' income by heavily controlling the profits of the primary sector. Their twelve-year era ends with the lowest unemployment rate in 28 years (5.9%) and the highest income in the Southern Cone. Much of their failure in speeding up their industrialist project and in retaining power can be attributed to the violent and constant attacks coming from the agrarian oligarchy and the corporate world in association with the media, and in their incapacity to build a sound social basis, which amounts for much of the votes lost since their 54% four years back. Still, they leave strong and somewhat organised groups of followers while the new government has received the votes of too many who don't really favour the liberal policies they have promised to apply. I get the impression it won't be at all easy to handle liberal policies with a majority of the population reluctant to accept their inevitable consequences after years of economic and social well-being.

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