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Argentina
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Politics

Argentina set to shift as Mauricio Macri wins at the polls

Region:
Argentina
Category:
Politics
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I ask those of you who did not vote for us to join this change. This Argentina will not be the brainchild of a visionary who has all the solutions”

Liberal candidate Mauricio Macri, from the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) party, will be the next president of Argentina, after beating Daniel Scioli (Peronist Victory Front) in a tight race at the country’s presidential runoff on Sunday. With 99 percent of the vote counted, Macri had secured 51.4 percent of the ballots, compared to 48.6 percent for Scioli.

Macri, who will replace Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in the Casa Rosada presidential palace, took the win with less than a three-point advantage, which amounts to just over 700,000 votes in a country of 32 million people. Argentina is now bearing witness to a radical shift to the right after 12 years of Kirchnerism – and it is doing so with unexpected calm.

After a tense campaign, the elections passed by without incident. It was almost as if everything had been decided in the first round, which is where the real change happened. At the October polls the conservative Macri surprised voters by closing in on the government-backed candidate Scioli, who had been hand-picked by Fernández de Kirchner.

Kirchner’s camp lost but it hung on fiercely despite its gradual 12-year decline. Macri supporters attribute this resistance to the fear campaign that Scioli promoted during the last few weeks, targeting the poorest members of society.

Macri and running mate Gabriela Michetti took notice of this and launched a message of friendship to those who did not vote for them. “Many poor families are very worried. I want to tell you that there is nothing to fear,” Michetti said. “I ask those of you who did not vote for us to join this change. This Argentina will not be the brainchild of a visionary who has all the solutions. That does not exist. My task is to help you find the way,” Macri said in a speech that gave little in the way of political ideas and focused on “uniting Argentineans.”