Pope Francis sent a brief message to Argentines ahead of Sunday’s landmark runoff hoping citizens “vote with conscience”. The DyN news agency on Wednesday asked the pontiff to send a message to Argentines ahead of Sunday November 22 presidential runoff between incumbent Daniel Scioli and Mauricio Macri from the Let’s Change opposition coalition to lead the country.
“You already know what I think,” he first said and then added: “Vote with conscience.”
Francis' statements were made during an short encounter with reporters of the Argentine news agency during the papal general audience at St. Peter's square in the Vatican.
Moments after the phrase began to circulate through Argentine mainstream media with Daniel Scioli highlighting the message with a reading which was supported by Francis' repeated criticism of capitalism.
In an interview with a local radio station, the incumbent candidate spoke of the plans for austerity and shock devaluation promoted by Mauricio Macri.
Pope Francis' words will be very important to Argentines as they vote their conscience, Scioli said. They should give us all pause with respect to the actions of the kind of savage capitalism that wants to bring Argentina to its knees.
His call to vote our conscience is a deep message: it asks that people support those who they believe will defend them, said Scioli. ”You can be for or against me; but I don't say one thing today, and then another the next day as (Mauricio) Macri does.
Scioli was careful not to directly attribute to himself the Supreme Pontiff's support; but it is known that the two share a relationship of respect and affection that goes back a long way.
We talk about universal themes. Francis' main concern is the struggle against savage capitalism and its consequences, against social injustice, and to make the world more aware of all this” said Scioli referring to the pope's remarks.
Criticism of savage capitalism referred to by Scioli was in fact reiterated by Pope Francis in his statement Wednesday morning.