Argentine president unveils new economic measures to counter poll shock

Global Business

Last Sunday’s presidential primary election in Argentina and its surprising results did little to change the country’s economic instability. 

But far from monitoring the stock market or the price of the dollar, for many in Argentina it’s a question of making ends meet. On Thursday, many social organizations took to the streets.

Monica Bustamente runs a small hair salon and says work is slow. “People prefer to have food on the table rather than look good, That is the choice they have.” She said she had stopped attending marches but began again last year because of the current situation. 

Economic instability is part of daily life.

After Thursday’s cabinet meeting, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said the government has gotten the message sent by voters over the weekend.

“The most important message that we have to give today is that in  the coming 72 days, you will see us on the street, everywhere, talking to people so we can continue with this political project.”

Argentine President Mauricio Macri admitted after last weekend’s resounding defeat in presidential primaries, “We had a bad election.” He has vowed to win back support.

The government has announced measures aimed at helping the middle class, from income tax cuts to freezing the cost of fuel and housing credit repayments. 

But national coordinator for the social organization Barrios de Pie, Silvia Saravia, says the government is not taking care of the people who most need it. 

“We agree with the vote against Macri. It’s good that people are voting against those who are enriching wealthy sectors and making the working class poorer.”

The latest economic data indicates annual inflation has increased by nearly 55 percent in the past year. After this week’s currency devaluation, that’s likely to go up even more. For many, this situation is similar to previous crises in Argentina. And Macri’s opponents are taking note.