BUENOS AIRES – Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri said on Monday after the ruling center-right Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition got key victories in mid-term legislative elections over the weekend that voters had endorsed his pro-market reform agenda at the polls.
“We’re here to help all Argentines do better, whether they voted for us or not. We hope those who didn’t vote for us also will find reason to be enthusiastic,” Macri said at a press conference in Buenos Aires just hours after Cambiemos came out on top in the country’s five main congressional districts.
He said a key priority of his broader anti-poverty effort was to lower a budget deficit that had soared under his center-left predecessor, Cristina Fernandez, adding that for the moment it was necessary to continue taking on debt to cover the budget gap.
“If you’re not going to finance the deficit with inflation, you have to do it with debt, and we can’t do that forever. So we need to continue to gradually reduce the budget deficit, which is a commitment we’ve assumed since the first day,” said Macri, who took office in December 2015.
In that regard, he said that from now until year’s end the goal was to ensure passage in Congress of a 2018 budget bill that would ensure deficit reduction.
Macri said the budget deficit should be equivalent to less than 3.2 percent of gross domestic product next year and just 2.2 percent of GDP in 2019. He also has pledged to get Argentina’s inflation rate down to single digits.
Macri furthermore vowed to bring about labor-law changes that generate more employment and bring more people into the formal workforce, although he did not say whether he would seek to push through a far-reaching labor overhaul that the opposition staunchly opposes.
His remarks came after Cambiemos won Sunday’s mid-term elections not only in the coveted province of Buenos Aires but in other major electoral districts such as Cordoba, Santa Fe and Mendoza.