World Bulletin / News Desk
Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri is expected to win the country’s run-off presidential election Sunday after a month of intense campaigning.
Macri is in front according to six polls, as Argentines shift to moderation after 12 years of fiery rule by the populist-left Front for Victory party.
“There is a move toward change as opposed to continuity,” Luisa Richey, a political analyst at Cefeidas Group in Buenos Aires, said Friday.
Macri is running his campaign based on a desiren for a coalition of centrist parties whose name promotes just that: Cambiemos, or Let’s Change.
In his closing campaign remarks in the northwestern province of Jujuy, the 56-year-old businessman stressed the need for working differently than the combative style of politics that he said has divided the country since 2003.
“Let’s not fight and let’s not argue, let’s reserve our energy to build,” he said. “Thank you for dreaming without fear. I want to help all of you so that we live a little better each day.”
The latest poll by Elypsis shows Macri with a nearly 8 percent lead on Buenos Aires Gov. Daniel Scioli, a 58-year-old former powerboat racer who is running for Front for Victory.
Scioli has focused his campaigning on trying to demonize Macri, suggesting that he will bring austerity measures that will cut consumer spending and cause a surge in unemployment and poverty.
The economy has stagnated since 2014 and is projected to remain that way through 2016, maybe into 2017, according to economists.
In his closing campaign speech on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, a hotbed of support for the ruling party, Scioli called Cambiemos “a pact with the devil,” and warned voters “not to be tricked by the word change”.
The fear mongering, however, may backfire on Scioli, whose die-hard supporters have dressed up as ghosts at plazas to warn voters of the economic fallout of a Macri government.
“There is a groundswell of support for Macri,” Richey said.
While both candidates have slammed each other, Macri has done better at capitalizing on the demand for change, she said.
Scioli has always been known as a more consultative and collaborative politician, but he has not been able to distinguish this in the campaigning, with many voters associating him with the antagonistic style of outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Richey added.
“Macri has taken a lot of the space as the more moderate candidate,” she said. “There is a bit of fatigue in the combative style of the outgoing government.”