Economic crisis could upend Argentina presidential election

Global Business

Economic crisis could upend Argentina presidential election

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri is hoping to win a second term in the presidential elections on Sunday. But with the economy in crisis, he’s facing a formidable challenger.

CGTN’s Joel Richards reports from Buenos Aires.

At a reelection campaign stop just days ahead of the election, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri rallied supporters to stand by him with the adopted campaign slogan, “yes, we can.”

“Let us not let difficulties make us doubt the things that we have already achieved,” said Macri. “Let us not doubt which country we want to live in, and much more, make us abandon the dreams we have.”

Macri won the presidency in 2015 on the promise of transforming the country, the economy and reducing poverty. Yet, four years later, the peso has more than halved in value, inflation is among the highest in the world and poverty has spiked to over 35%.

Noelia Ruiz is one of the young candidates for Macri’s party. She admits there are problems with the economy, but says the party’s philosophy – which offers a very different political project – still attracts voters of all ages.

“It is a long process to create a path to where we want to go,” says Ruiz. “ We thought it would be easier and it wasn’t, but our values are still the same.”

Macri is campaigning for reelection and another four years . But based on August’s primary results, it appears the opposition Peronist party is in position to win on Sunday, largely due to the fact that the party has united around one candidate.

During primary elections in August, Macri was nearly 15 percentage points behind former cabinet chief Alberto Fernandez. The center-left candidate is running with former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. They pledge an urgent change of direction for the country.

At the final campaign rally held in the city of Mar del Plata, Fernandez told supporters, “you must know that in every speech, we are signing a moral and ethical contract with you, to ensure Argentina takes care of those that have nothing, those who have been forgotten, to be an Argentina that will grow once again.”

Francisco Cafiero is the third generation of his family in the Peronist party and is running for Buenos Aires legislator. He believes the economic and social situation has lead many people to turn to the Peronist party which needed former president Cristina Kirchner on the ticket.

“Cristina is the most important political leader in Peronism, she is the person who attracts the most votes by herself,” says Cafiero. “What she has done is strategic, she understood that alone she wouldn’t win, but neither would they win without her.”

Macri hopes he can advance to a second run-off vote in November. But polls suggest Fernandez should comfortably secure a ten-point advantage needed to win the presidential election.

The week before the elections ended with more currency instability. Whoever wins Argentina’s presidency faces immediate and urgent challenges.