Scioli Scolds Argentine Opponents for Seeking to Pay ‘Vultures’

Argentine presidential candidate Daniel Scioli criticized rivals seeking to succeed President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in October’s election, saying they want to pay “vulture funds” that sued the government for full payment from the 2001 default.

In a speech to open a bank workers conference Wednesday, the current governor of Buenos Aires province also said his opponents would mete out neo-liberal “adjustment” measures that would hurt the poor and revive policies that had only racked up debt and led to the financial crisis of 2001-2002.

“Just a few hours ago, they said that we needed to run out and pay the vulture funds,” Scioli, the front-runner in presidential polls, said. The opposition is a “new version of an alliance of adjustment and indebtedness that damaged the policies of the workers and society.”

Scioli roiled markets last week by naming Legal Secretary Carlos Zannini, one of Fernandez’s closest confidantes, as his running mate. Zannini has been instrumental in crafting up some of Fernandez’s most controversial policies, such as the nationalization of the country’s pension funds and oil company YPF SA. He was also behind legislation that aimed to bypass a New York court ruling ordering the government to pay holdouts from Argentina’s 2001 default when making payments to holders of restructured bonds.

Gabriela Michetti, opposition presidential candidate Mauricio Macri’s running mate, said this week that while Argentina should put up a fight against the litigants led by Paul Singer’s Elliott Management, it should ultimately abide by the law and obey the ruling.

Fernandez’s refusal to observe the court order resulted in a second default in 13 years in 2014 for Argentina after a New York judge blocked payments on restructured bonds.

“Our project is about productivity, social inclusion, of policies of integration,” Scioli said Wednesday. “ I believe in that. There are strategic areas where the state can’t delegate to the market.”

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