Argentina’s Macri Open to Opposition Talks But No Formal Pact

Presidential candidate Mauricio Macri said Thursday he’s open to talks with other sectors of Argentina’s opposition, while stepping back from offering a formal alliance to defeat the government´s candidate.

The fact that the opposition has more than 60 percent of voter preferences indicates that Argentina needs a change after 12 years of government by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband Nestor Kirchner, Macri said. A deadline for parties to form alliances expired in June.

Macri´s Cambiemos alliance garnered 30.1 percent of votes in primaries on Aug. 9, trailing Daniel Scioli of the ruling Victory Front alliance, who attracted 38.4 percent. Many Argentines are speculating the opposition needs to unite to prevent Scioli from winning in a first round as the Buenos Aires governor fell just short of the 10 percentage point lead he needs to avoid a run-off in November.

“We need to understand that the primaries were the first half of a match and you can’t change teams at half-time,” Macri said in a speech at an event hosted by the Inter-American Council for Trade and Production in Buenos Aires. “That doesn’t mean there won’t be constructive dialogue, since we all share the conviction that Argentina needs a change.”

The opposition includes Sergio Massa’s UNA alliance, which got 20.6 percent support in the primaries and Margarita Stolbizer’s Progressive Alliance who got 3.5 percent of votes.

Macri, the current mayor of Buenos Aires city, reiterated a previous pledge to remove currency controls on his first day in office and said the peso would be allowed to float freely without any intervention from the central bank. Argentina would avoid a slump in the peso because of the influx of investment dollars into the country as confidence in Argentina recovers, he said.

‘Clear Rules’

His government would establish clear guidelines within 90 days to offer security to investors.

“Argentina’s economy is so stifled and everything is so repressed that if we establish clear rules and a clear outlook the country will begin to advance immediately,” Macri said.

In contrast, Scioli has called on any economic changes to be implemented gradually.

Central Bank President Alejandro Vanoli isn’t qualified for his position and Macri said that if he gained power he would ask him to resign or seek Congressional permission to remove him. Prosecutor General Alejandra Gils Carbo should also step down, Macri said.

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