Argentina: President Mauricio Macri

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Mauricio Macri was elected President of Argentina in 2015. His victory over David Scioli, the chosen successor of outgoing president Cristina Fernandez de Kichner and favorite for the presidency, came after he forced the first run off vote in Argentinian history. Macri, a relative newcomer to politics, is the son of prominent Italian-born businessman, Franco Macri. In 2003 Macri founded the political party Commitment for Change (CPC), which developed into Macri’s current political party, the Republican Proposal (PRO). Between 2003 and 2015 PRO grew into Argentina’s first new viable national political party in over 60 years. The party is viewed as right wing although Macri self-identifies as center-right.  Macri is the first right-wing president Argentina has had since its return to democracy in 1983. Although Macri comes from a wealthy background he appealed to working-class voters with campaign promises to implement extensive infrastructure developments, boost existing welfare programs, and enact swift pro-market economic changes.

Since 2015 Macri has remained true to his promises of economic change. His administration reversed capital controls imposed by his predecessors, hiked interest rates to cut inflation, and eliminated price controls on food and gasoline. In 2016 Macri also settled Argentina’s debts with foreign bondholders, reestablishing Argentina s access to global credit. As a result, Argentina has seen an influx of investor and lender interest, as well as a staggering 77 percent gain in the stock market over 2017 and additional 7 percent so far in 2018. The influx of investors has allowed Argentina to diversify, stabilizing its economy further. Macri s administration is most focused on the agricultural and oil industries, in which Argentina is most competitive internationally; however, this has spurred job loss in other industries, especially in manufacturing. Macri has responded to the resulting outcry by slowing social spending cuts, although he remains committed to lowering the fiscal deficit. U.S. relations with Argentina have improved noticeably throughout Macri’s tenure.

Macri is the host of this year’s G20 Summit, which will take place from November 30 – December 1 in Buenos Aires.  President Macri met with various leaders in January of this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to discuss the agenda and themes for the G20 throughout 2018.  These leaders include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, CEO of British Petroleum Bob Dudley and representatives of Temasek International (investment), Total (petroleum and energy), Cargill (agro-chemicals), Coca Cola (beverages), Facebook, Siemens, and Lloyd’s (insurance).  Macri has expressed as his hope and vision for Argentina to strengthen its global positioning, after decades of what Macri has described as Argentina being isolated from the world.  As G20 president, Macri has expressed his agenda for the G20 with themes of “putting people first and committing to multilateralism, more inclusive growth, and intergenerational progress.”  President Macri met with Bill and Melinda Gates in Davos, where they discussed the importance of a sustainable food future.  Another strong theme in the 2018 G20 agenda is a focus on women, specifically the Women 20 engagement group.

Following Macri’s meeting with Merkel in Davos, he statedWe spoke of the importance of focusing on education.  We also spoke of infrastructure, how necessary it is for development, and how we can narrow the gap between developed and emerging countries through private sector involvement.”

“Venezuela’s government must work toward achieving a true culture of democracy for our region. There’s no room for persecution based on ideological reasons or for thinking differently.”

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