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Argentina: Massa tells FT he has been given the task of controlling government

Saturday, November 7th 2015 - 07:33 UTC
Full article 9 comments
“There are 5m kingmakers, not one,” says Massa in the interview, referring to the voters that backed his candidacy. “There are 5m kingmakers, not one,” says Massa in the interview, referring to the voters that backed his candidacy.
This position ”is casting uncertainty over the outcome of a close race that will end 12 years of populist rule by Cristina and Néstor”. This position ”is casting uncertainty over the outcome of a close race that will end 12 years of populist rule by Cristina and Néstor”.
Massa is critical of the “fear campaign” Macri warning corruption will reign if he loses; Scioli claims Argentines will lose their social rights if Macri wins.  Massa is critical of the “fear campaign” Macri warning corruption will reign if he loses; Scioli claims Argentines will lose their social rights if Macri wins.

Sergio Massa is seen as the kingmaker in Argentina’s approaching presidential election runoff next 22 November, with the power to influence more than a fifth of the electorate after taking third place in last month’s first round.

 However according to an interview with the Financial Times, Massa refuses to throw his weight behind either of the two candidates, incumbent Daniel Scioli and opposition Mauricio Macri, but rather argues he was given the task of controlling government.

This “is casting uncertainty over the outcome of a close race that will end 12 years of populist rule by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner”.

“There are 5m kingmakers, not one,” says Massa in the interview, referring to the voters that backed his candidacy. “To attempt to influence the [run-off] vote would be to mock their trust in me. I’m not planning to support either of the two candidates.”

The FT points out that whoever wins the run-off on November 22, he will inherit an economy with a ballooning fiscal deficit, inflation around 20% and international pariah status in global capital markets following Argentina’s 2001 default.

Massa is a former mayor of Tigre, a middle-class suburban district north of Buenos Aires and was Cristina Fernandez cabinet chief in 2008-09 before splitting from the government when he “no longer felt part of what was happening”, forming the centrist Renewal Front party to run in the 2013 midterms.

It won an impressive victory that effectively barred the president from re-election by leaving her without the congressional majority needed to alter the constitution to allow presidents to be re-elected indefinitely.

Further on in the interview Massa criticizes what he says is a “campaign of fear” from both sides, with Macri’s camp warning corruption will reign if he loses while Scioli’s supporters claim Argentines will lose their social rights if his opponents take power. “Argentines must vote with hope, not fear”.

Massa highlights the fight against drug trafficking, corruption and poverty, as well as improving education and reviving investment, as some of his main areas of concern and says he will support a president that adopts his policies.

“If the next president goes in search of investment, he will have me by his side so that investors can believe that this country has a future,” he says, arguing that boosting investment is essential to revive Argentina’s struggling economy.

But the congressman, whose coalition controls 36 of 257 seats in the lower chamber of Congress, vows to play a central role in checking the power of the next administration, since neither Macri nor Scioli will have the majority needed to pass laws without third-party support.

“I have been given the task [by voters] of controlling the government, contributing with proposals and pointing out mistakes, and that is the task I will take on after December 10,” he says, referring to the day Argentina’s next president will be inaugurated.

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • ElaineB

    You can see why he is hedging his bets. He wants power whoever is in government.

    Nov 07th, 2015 - 10:02 am 0
  • golfcronie

    Sticky fingers, win ,win for him, he could become very rich.

    Nov 07th, 2015 - 11:51 am 0
  • Conqueror

    @1. Is that a bad thing if he does what he says he's going to do? Isn't that part of what being an “opposition” is about? Of course, only time will tell.

    Nov 07th, 2015 - 12:24 pm 0
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