By Cecilia Caminos
HAVANA TIMES — Center-right politician Mauricio Macri was proclaimed Argentina’s next president after winning the runoff vote on Sunday, promising to put an end to 12 years of Kirchner governments and to steer the South American nation towards the center-right, DPA reported.
The leader of the opposition front Cambiemos (“Let’s Change”) won the elections with 51.43 percent of the vote, defeating Daniel Scioli, leader of the pro-government Frente para la Victoria (“Victory Front, FpV), who secured 48.57 percent. The results were announced after 98.91 percent of the ballot boxes were counted.
Macri will take office on December 10 and close a 12-year cycle begun by Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007), who passed away in 2010, and continued by his wife Cristina Fernandez (2007-2011 and 2011-2015).
The head of State, barred from running for a third term in office by the constitution, decided to put behind her all elective offices. Her future remains uncertain, though she insisted she will continue her political “activism.”
“It’s a historic day, a change of era. This change has to push us forward towards the future, towards the opportunities we need to grow, to make progress. The change cannot lead us to vendettas and to settling accounts,” Macri declared after Scioli acknowledged defeat.
The 56-year-old mayor of Buenos Aires and leader of the center-right PRO made a call to “build an Argentina without poverty, confront and defeat drug trafficking and unite all Argentineans.”
Macri also called on Latin American nations and the rest of the world: “We want to have good relations with all countries, we want to work with everyone.”
“We know the Argentinean people have a lot to offer the world, and we hope to be able to draw up an agenda for cooperation,” the conservative pointed out. Macri calls for a change in the foreign policy impelled by the Kirchners, closely linked to Venezuela, China and Russia.
Around 80.9 percent of the more than 32 million Argentineans called to the ballot boxes voted, about three percentage points below the figures registered in October in the first round of balloting, Minister for Justice and Human Rights Julio Alak reported. Only 1.19 percent of voters cast a blank vote.
Macri will have to govern without a majority at Congress and declared that one of his first measures will be to strike a governability agreement with the different political forces and Peronista provincial governors.