22 November 2015
Mauricio Macri, presidential candidate of the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition, with his daughter Antonia on his shoulders, and his wife Juliana Awada wave to supporters after the presidential election in Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 22, 2015. | Photo: Reuters
Argentina’s election results Sunday came as a blow to the international left, while being welcomed by the right-wing in Argentina and abroad.
In a fiercely fought presidential race, ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli lost to the right-wing opposition challenger Mauricio Macri in a run off vote.
In his speech conceding defeat, Scioli said, “The people have chosen an alternative.”
“I have defended my ideas and our achievements with much convictions, (but) the results show a definitive tendency,” he said.
After Scioli’s speech, The newly elected vice president Gabriela Michetti promised to “build new things on what has already been built.”
“Above all I want to thank Mauricio (Macri), because he trusted me and I know that he is committed to a government for everyone,” She said.
Moments later, Macri himself addressed the nation, starting his victory speech with, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“I am here because you all decided it … We can build trust, something we need here in Argentina,” he said.
Macri continued by praising his supporters and vowing to introduce sweeping reforms. “Us Argentines know that the country we dream of, we have to build together … We have to build an Argentina with zero poverty, we have to confront the drug smuggling,” he said.
“With our vote we’re going to change history… we did it, we did it together,” he added.
Incumbent President Cristina Fernandez has congratulated Macri on his victory, and said she will hold an official meeting with him Tuesday
On the streets of Argentina, Scioli supporter Maria Rosa Soria said the defeat was a bad sign for the country.
“If the results stay like this it’s a real setback for the country,” she told Reuters shortly before the final results came in.
Macri supporter Angela Torres said the victory “feels like a dream.”
“A new Argentina is on its way that will be better in every sense,” Torres stated.
Welcomed by the right-wing
Beyond Argentina, Macri’s win has been met with disappointment by Latin America’s progressives, and welcomed by the right-wing. The victory for Macri is the first time in Argentina’s history the right has taken power through the ballot box, rather than through undemocratic means.
Even before final results were released, Venezuelan opposition figure and Lilian Tintori and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera had already congratulated Macri. Since then, right wing leaders from across the region have joined a chorus of approval for Macri, including Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan right-wing opposition figure Henrique Capriles.
“We’re paying a lot of attention to electoral results, but its very important that across Latin America the social movements be strengthened … so such organizations need to be much more involved in politics,” analyst and journalist Kintto Lucas told teleSUR.
Lucas noted Macri’s new government is likely to struggle to impose reforms without negotiating with the opposition.
“But, he will try to apply pressure through international mechanisms, but of course other countries won’t agree,” Lucas said.
Newspaper El Pais commented on the election by noting Macri has vowed to suspend Venezuela from the Mercosur bloc – a move that would be fiercely opposed by Uruguay and Brazil.