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Kirchner era ends with opposition win in Argentina

Published:Monday | November 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Opposition presidential candidate Mauricio Macri and his wife Juliana Awada, back left, celebrate after winning a runoff presidential election in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Sunday.


President-elect Mauricio Macri's promises to revitalise Argentina's sagging economy with free-market reforms and improve strained relations with the United States resonated with voters, carrying him to a historic win that ended 12 years of often-conflictive rule by President Cristina Fernandez and her late husband.

But when the business-friendly opposition candidate takes office December 10, he will inherit a country with around 30 percent inflation, near-zero economic growth and entrenched government social spending that private economists warn is not sustainable.

He also lacks majorities in either chamber of Congress to pass his deep reforms.

"Macri will begin his mandate in a difficult political position," wrote Daniel Kerner from the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.


Difficult decisions


"He will have to make difficult economic adjustments and face serious political constraints."

With 98 percent of the vote counted from Sunday's election, Macri had 51.5 per cent support compared to 48.5 percent for ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli, Fernandez's hand-chosen successor. Scioli conceded defeat and Macri claimed victory.

"Today is a historic day," Macri crowed while his supporters celebrated. "It's the changing of an era."