Argentina's President Mauricio Macri vows to claw back lost voters

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri offers a press conference at Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires on August 12, 2019 a day after primary elections. (Photo by AFP)

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri says he will reverse his unheralded weak performance in the country’s primary elections.

Alberto Fernandez, a former cabinet chief, who has chosen ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as his running mate, dominated the Sunday vote by an unhoped-for 15.5-percentage-point margin over Marci, Reuters reported.
Presidential hopeful for the Frente de Todos (Front for All) party Alberto Fernandez gestures before voting during primary elections in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires on August 11, 2019. (Photo by AFP)
The president, nevertheless, said on Monday, "I trust we will have a more even election in October that will allow us to go to a second round.”

The vote served to represent the public’s view on whether they would keep enduring Marci’s stringent austerity measures aimed at reviving the economy or would choose to go back to the Kirchner era, which used to feature heavy state involvement in the economic sphere.

Marci unleashed the austerity measures after taking out a loan from the International Monetary Fund in return for pledges of making up for the country’s economic shortcomings.

His performance in the primary sent the peso tumbling down to 53.5 per US dollar. The 30 percent slump was the steepest to be experienced by the currency since 2001.

Fernandez attributed the plunge to market reactions caused by Macri's economic policies.

"Markets react badly when they realize they were scammed. We are living a fictitious economy and the government is not giving answers," he said in a radio interview Monday morning.

He has said he would seek to "rework" Argentina's $57-billion standby agreement with the IMF if he won October's general election.

Observers, meanwhile, said Sunday's results served to show that he had enough support to clinch the presidency in October's first round, without having to go to a November run-off election.

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