New Argentine president assumes power, promises many changes

Buenos Aires, Argentina -- After 12 years of often divisive rule and heavy spending on social welfare programs, Argentina's president-elect promises to usher in an era of more civil discourse and roll back much of the spending that many economists say has brought the South American nation to the brink of crisis.

See Full Article

President-elect Mauricio Macri will be sworn in Thursday after defeating the chosen successor of outgoing President Cristina Fernandez during last month's election. Macri ran on free-market ideas, promising to overhaul a struggling economy and be a leader "who listens more and talks less," a clear dig at Fernandez, who frequently blasted opponents during hours-long speeches.

Fernandez, and before her late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, dominated Argentina's political landscape for the last 12 years. The power couple sharply increased spending on social welfare programs while raising tariffs in attempts to protect local industries and aligning the country with leftist leaders like late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Macri has promised to undo many of those policies and improve relations with the United States. While his election victory represented a seismic change in Argentine politics, enacting his reforms will prove difficult.

On Thursday, he inherit myriad problems: Inflation around 30 percent, dangerously low foreign reserves for the third largest economy in Latin America and a long-time spat with a group of creditors in the U.S. that has kept Argentina on the margins of international credit markets.

Macri will also be wedged in by campaign promises to lift restrictions on buying U.S. dollars, and thus eliminate a booming black market that has made it difficult for local businesses to operate. The lifting of restrictions will likely lead to a devaluation of the Argentine peso, a scary proposition in a country that defaulted on $100 billion in debt during a 2001-2002 financial crisis that plunged half the country into poverty.

Macri will have to maneuver without ruling majorities in either chamber. However, his party will control both the city of Buenos Aires and the vast Buenos Aires province, where 40 percent of the country's 41 million people live.

He will also have to work to win over a polarized electorate and Fernandez has made clear she will be a stiff opposition opponent.

In recent weeks, she has rushed dozens of bills through Congress, appointed ambassadors and many other public workers and cut some taxes on the provinces, which will all make Macri's initial months more difficult.

She has also decided not to attend Thursday's inauguration ceremony after she and Macri bickered for weeks about logistical details. Macri wanted to receive the presidential baton and sash from Fernandez in the government house, or Casa Rosada. However, Fernandez insisted that Macri receive them in Congress.

The tiff, which had many Argentines shaking their head in shame, ended on Tuesday when a top aide said the president simply wouldn't attend.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Saudi Arabia to open movie theatres after more than 30 years of ban

    World News CTV News
    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia says it will allow movie theatres to open in the conservative kingdom next year, for the first time in more than 35 years. It’s the latest move as part of the young crown prince’s efforts to socially reform the country. Source
  • Firefighters brace for second week of California wildfires

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - Officials say the largest, most destructive wildfire burning in Southern California is expected to grow as it enters its second week. The Thomas Fire north of Los Angeles has burned more than 700 square kilometres, prompted tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed nearly 800 structures. Source
  • American man escapes from prison on Bali

    World News CTV News
    BALI, Indonesia - An American citizen detained for a drug offence escaped Monday from an overcrowded and under-staffed prison on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Head of Kerobokan prison Tonny Nainggolan said Christian Beasley, 32, was believed to have escaped at around 4 a.m. Source
  • Rodrigo Duterte asks Philippine congress to extend martial law

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked Congress to extend by one year the martial law he declared in the south to ensure the "total eradication" of pro-Islamic State group extremists. Duterte warned that extremists continue to plot public uprisings aimed at establishing a caliphate in Southeast Asia despite a failed but disastrous attempt to set up one in the southern Philippines. Source
  • U.S. looking to counter Iran in post-war Iraq, diplomat says

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD - As Iraq emerges from three years of war with the Islamic State group, the U.S. is looking to roll back the influence of neighbouring Iran and help the central government resolve its dispute with the Kurdish region, the American envoy to the country told The Associated Press. Source
  • Melbourne to test terrorism alarm system

    World News CTV News
    MELBOURNE, Australia - Melbourne will test a terrorism alarm system this month after police thwarted two alleged plots targeting Christmas-New Year crowds and a lone driver killed six pedestrians in the last year in Australia's second-largest city. Source
  • Rape of Rohingya women sweeping and methodical: report

    World News CTV News
    UKHIA, Bangladesh - An Associated Press investigation has found that the rape of Rohingya women by Myanmar's security forces has been sweeping and methodical. The AP interviewed 29 women and girls who said they were raped by Myanmar's armed forces. Source
  • Venezuela's ruling socialists romp to victory in mayoral elections

    World News CBC News
    Venezuela's ruling socialists swept nearly all the races for mayors across the country, and President Nicolas Maduro is now threatening to ban key opposition parties from future elections in the oil-rich country wracked by economic crisis. Source
  • Mississauga trailer park residents slam housing development plans

    Canada News CTV News
    MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - A plan to tear down a small mobile home park for a new housing development in Mississauga, Ont., has the small community of over 200 homes wondering where they'll have to move and has seniors wondering how they'll be able to afford a new house on their fixed income. Source
  • South Korea imposes new sanctions on North Korea

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- South Korea added several North Korean groups and individuals to its sanctions list Monday in a largely symbolic move that is part of efforts to cut off funding for the North's weapons programs. Source