Mauricio Macri, The Savior of Argentina
On the 10th December 2015 Mauricio Macri officially came into power after winning 51% of the vote in the elections in October. This change from the Peronist government marked the end of an era. Macri promised change and the people trusted him to bring Argentina out of its dire economic situation.
Who is Mauricio Macri?
Mauricio is the son of one of Argentina’s wealthiest industrialists, Francesco Macri, who is an Italian businessman. Macri has been very successful in business and it is said to have made deals with none other than Donald Trump in his twenties. In fact, it was his father’s financial successes that led him to be kidnapped in 1991. He was blindfolded and left in the middle of a street at 2 AM with a small amount of money after his father had paid the ransom. Further inquiries into his kidnapping discovered that a gang of around 30 was responsible and more info came to light when one of the members began to speak after not receiving his fair share of the ransom. Important to note that all but one had a direct link to the Argentine intelligence force. It was this event that inspired him to go into the world of politics and make a change.
Who was his opposition?
Argentina’s party system has traditionally focused upon two major political parties, Peronistas and Radicales. Peronismo is based on the ideology of Juan Perón and his wife Eva Duarte de Perón with the concept of social justice at its heart. Argentina was considered to have a single party government from 1983 because the Peronist party had held presidency for all but six and a half years until very recently in 2015, and even in those years when Peronismo did not control the presidency, they had never lost control of the two chambers in congress. Political parties in Argentina are fairly old, therefore partisanship is tied to social identity. Despite of a severely diluted party brand over the course of the 90’s and 2000’s, loyalty to the Peronist party has remained. Macri will be the first non-Peronist President to complete a full term since 1928. He is taking over from 12 years of reign by the Kirchners, beating Daniel Scioli, the candidate of the Peronist party. With Macri, there is a swing from left to central right and it was in 2003 when he first committed to change party. He became mayor of Buenos Aires City, the capital, in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009. Macri wants to reinsert Argentina into the global economy and repair its frayed diplomatic connections.
What is his link with Boca Juniors?
Argentinians are football crazy. For them it is not simply a sport but a religion. Your football team is something you are born into and it can tear families apart. Boca Juniors is one of Argentina’s most popular football teams. On top of its popularity, it is also the football team known for representing the working class due to its origin of being in La Boca neighborhood. Not only was Macri the chairman of Boca Juniors football club from 1995-2007 but he is also widely known to be one of the most successful presidents in the history of the club. Under his leadership, the club had won 16 national and international titles. (You can read more about Boca Junior’s history here: http://www.bocajuniors.com.ar/) What does this mean? Well, for something so close to so many hearts, it meant that Macri gained high status and huge popularity. Here is another fun fact about Macri and Boca Juniors: it is said that Macri hates public speaking and the way that he calms his nerves before a big speech is by watching one of the Boca Junior football games. The stress and agitation that he goes through whilst watching makes reciting his speeches a breeze.
Challenges he must face:
Huge social, cultural and economical changes need to be made in the country and whilst Macri started off well, many predict that the very corrupt Peronismo and Kirchnerismo will try anything to destabilize his government. Furthermore, even after paying the holdouts, eliminating the exchange controls, increasing the unsustainable subsidize energy prices, last year’s inflation remained at a high of 35%. While many are giving him the benefit of the doubt, some are starting to question where his promise of foreign investments are. Right now, it is vital that he repositions himself for the October 2017 mid term elections in order to keep on pushing his reforms through congress which is currently heavily controlled by the oppositions PJ, Peronismo, Massismo and Kirchnerismo.