Latin America & Caribbean

Argentina's President-elect Macri lays out new course

Mauricio Macri gestures to his supporters after the presidential election in Buenos Aires on 22 November, 2015. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mauricio Macri beat Daniel Scioli in the run-off to become Argentina's next president

Argentine President-elect Mauricio Macri said he would correct "mistakes" made by the outgoing administration, such as currency controls.

Mr Macri won Sunday's run-off election by a narrow margin over Daniel Scioli, who was backed by outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

He said one of the key problems was the lack of accurate information about the state of Argentina's economy.

Mr Macri campaigned on a promise of change for Argentina.

'Mistakes to be fixed'

Speaking in his first news conference after winning the election, Mr Macri said "currency controls are a mistake, not providing information and statistics and not having an independent central bank are things we're going to correct".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Macri says he wants more transparency

Independent analysts have been critical of official inflation figures since 2011, when the government changed the way it made its calculations.

Some accused the government of President Fernandez of trying to mask the real numbers by changing its methodology.

Mr Macri said that between now and his inauguration on 10 December, his team would try to ascertain "the real state of Argentina's economy".

Macri's vision for Argentina


Market euphoria: Daniel Gallas, South America Business Correspondent

There are huge expectations in the markets about how Mauricio Macri will reform Argentina's economy. In the coming days, he will set out his policy of how to end currency controls that have been causing some damage internally.

But right now, he is not revealing much of his thinking - claiming that he will only make decisions once he has a clear picture of the country's finances.

That is not stopping a certain degree of euphoria in markets. Argentina's stock market index reached a record high on Monday, before giving up gains because of other events. Sovereign bonds also had a good day.

Despite the optimism, analysts know that Argentina's economic outlook is likely to worsen in the short term, before it gets any better.


Mr Macri, who won with about 51% of the vote against almost 49% for Mr Scioli, said he would focus on eradicating poverty and combating drug trafficking.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Daniel Scioli narrowly lost to Mr Macri

"We've been all too divided these past years," he said, referring to the rift between those who backed President Fernandez and her policies and those intent on getting rid of Kirchnerismo - the policy named after her and her late husband and predecessor in office, Nestor Kirchner.

"There is more that unites us than divides us," he said.

Mr Macri said that President Fernandez had called him to congratulate him and wish him luck.

Neighbourly relations

He said he had also received phone calls from Argentina's neighbours, including Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, Uruguay's Tabare Vazquez and Paraguay's Horacio Cartes.

He stressed that he wanted to build good relations with all Latin American nations.

But he criticised Venezuela's socialist government, a close ally of President Fernandez and her administration.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Venezuelans critical of their government called on Mr Macri to help their country

He said he would propose that Venezuela be suspended from the regional trade group Mercosur by invoking the "democratic clause" which allows members to be sanctioned in the event of "an interruption in democracy".

However, last month Mercosur Secretary General Florisvaldo Fier said the clause applied only "when there is a coup".

Nevertheless, Mr Macri's call for Venezuela's suspension and the presence of Lilian Tintori - wife of jailed Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez - at his victory rally are likely to sour relations with Venezuela.

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