Argentina’s Macri government faces ‘Fateful February’

Global Business

In Argentina, many are calling it ‘Fateful February’ for Mauricio Macri’s government. A series of policy reversals have compounded by the outcry over conflicts of interest.

CGTN’s Joel Richards reports from Buenos Aires.

Argentina’s Macri government faces ‘Fateful February’

Argentina’s Macri government faces ‘Fateful February’

In Argentina, many are calling it ‘Fateful February’ for Mauricio Macri’s government. A series of policy reversals have compounded by the outcry over conflicts of interest. CGTN’s Joel Richards reports from Buenos Aires.

Outside the government house in Buenos Aires, tourists and locals alike struggle with the late summer heat. The high temperature is also being felt at the very heart of government.

A debt settlement involving the postal service, once based in this majestic building, has taken over a decade to reach since nationalization in 2003.

But the recent agreement sparked an uproar over a conflict of interests. The business group involved is owned by the president’s family.

The government has been forced to review the terms of the agreement and Mauricio Macri attempted distance himself from the settlement.

“I have not participated in anything that Minister Aguad has done, for obvious reasons, because I want to be far away from any misinterpretations and I have not used my position for the benefit of anyone, because I insist, I work for all the Argentine people,” Maurico Macri, Argentina president, said.

Yet, other potential conflicts of interest have emerged, including the licenses for new air routes as Argentina opens up its skies to low-cost airlines.

Critics such as former national congressman Claudio Lozano say this is a recurring theme with the government.

“What happened with postal service is the crowning example of many irregularities that have been taking place involving the cabinet. When the rise in cost of fuel, tariff hikes and subsidies for these companies are all decided, it is very hard to distinguish between what is in the public interest and what is in the private interest,” Claudio Lozano, Popular Unity party, said.

According to the National Anti -Corruption Office, the number of investigations into conflict of interests has risen sharply under this administration – 80 cases in 2016 compared to 11 the year before.

Some observers have called it ‘Fateful February’ because in addition to the perceived conflicts of interests, so too there have been reversals in policy and spending in socially sensitive issues.

The government backtracked on a move to reduce pensions, so too to reduce the budget destined to combat domestic violence.

And it also reversed its decision to move the March 24th public holiday which commemorates the 1976 military coup.

With some pollsters suggesting the approval rating has dropped to 40 percent this month, the government will be looking forward to summer ending.