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Mauricio Macri

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Mauricio Macri
Presidente Macri en el Sillon de Rivadavia (cropped).jpg
President of Argentina
Assumed office
10 December 2015
Vice President Gabriela Michetti
Preceded by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
5th Chief of Government of Buenos Aires
In office
10 December 2007 – 10 December 2015
Deputy Gabriela Michetti
María Eugenia Vidal
Preceded by Jorge Telerman
Succeeded by Horacio Rodríguez Larreta
National Deputy
from Buenos Aires
In office
10 December 2005 – 18 July 2007
30th Chairman of Boca Juniors
In office
27 February 2008 – 1 June 2008
Preceded by Pedro Pompilio
Succeeded by Jorge Amor Ameal
In office
3 December 1995 – 4 December 2007
Preceded by Antonio Alegre
Succeeded by Pedro Pompilio
Personal details
Born (1959-02-08) 8 February 1959 (age 58)
Tandil, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Political party Republican Proposal (2009–present)
Other political
affiliations
Commitment to Change (2003–2009)
Cambiemos (2015–present)
Spouse(s) Yvonne Bordeu (1981–1991)
Isabel Menditeguy (1994–2005)
Juliana Awada (2010–present)
Children 4
Residence Quinta de Olivos
Alma mater Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina
Signature
Website Official website

Mauricio Macri (Spanish pronunciation: [mauˈɾisjo ˈmakɾi]; born 8 February 1959) is the current President of Argentina, in office since 2015. A former civil engineer, Macri won the first presidential runoff ballotage in Argentina's history (the runoff system had been introduced in 1994) and is the first democratically elected non-Radical or Peronist President since 1916.[1] He was previously the Head of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires from 2007 to 2015 and represented the city of Buenos Aires in the lower house of the Argentine congress from 2005 to 2007.

Born in Tandil in Buenos Aires Province, Macri is a graduate of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina with a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and also studied in the Columbia Business School in New York City.[2] Son of Francesco Macri, a prominent Italian businessman in the industrial and construction sectors, Macri was raised in an upper class home. He gained recognition when in 1995 he became President of Boca Juniors, one of the two most popular football clubs in the country. In 2005 he created the centre-right electoral front Republican Proposal (Propuesta Republicana), also known as PRO.[3]

He was considered a potential candidate for the 2011 general elections, but declined to run for the presidency of the country and ran instead for reelection as mayor. He got nearly 47% of the vote in the mayoral election, leading to a runoff vote on 31 July 2011 against candidate Daniel Filmus, which he won, getting elected for his second consecutive term.[4] On 22 November 2015, after a tie in the first round of presidential elections on 25 October, he obtained 51.34% of the votes and defeated the Front for Victory candidate Daniel Scioli.[5] He was inaugurated on 10 December 2015 in the National Congress of Argentina.[6]

In 2016, Macri was named one of the World's 100 Most Influential People and the Most Powerful President in Latin America by U.S. news magazine Time.[7][8]

Early life

Macri was born in the city of Tandil, in Buenos Aires Province.

Mauricio Macri was born in Tandil, in the province of Buenos Aires, as the son of the Italian-born tycoon Francisco Macri and Alicia Blanco Villegas, owner of the Philco brand in Argentina.[9] The family moved to Buenos Aires a short time later, and kept the houses in Tandil as vacation properties.[9] His father influenced him to be a businessman, as well as his uncle Jorge Blanco Villegas. Franco expected Mauricio to eventually succeed him as leaders of his firms. Macri preferred the company of his uncle, to avoid the constant scrutiny of his father. Macri was educated at Colegio Cardenal Newman[10] and studied at the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA), where he received a degree in civil engineering. During this time he became interested in neoliberalism, and joined a think tank led by the former minister Álvaro Alsogaray. As a result, he affiliated to the now defunct Union of the Democratic Centre party.[11] In 1985, he also attended short courses at Columbia Business School, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the local Universidad del CEMA.[12]

His professional experience started in SIDECO Americana S.A., a construction company belonging to his father's holding company, the Socma Group, where he worked for 3 years as Junior Analyst, later becoming a Senior Analyst. In 1984, he worked in the credit department of Citibank Argentina, in Buenos Aires. He joined Socma the same year, and from 1985 onward he served as general manager. In 1992 he became the vice president of Sevel Argentina (then manufacturing Fiat and Peugeot automobiles under licence in Argentina, and part of Socma), climbing to the presidency in 1994.[12]

In 1991, he was kidnapped for 12 days by officers of the Argentine Federal Police. He was kept inside a very small room, with a chemical bathroom and a hole in the roof to receive food. He was freed after his family reportedly paid a multimillion-dollar ransom.[13] He has since said that the ordeal led him to decide to enter politics.[14]

His first wife was Ivonne Bordeu, daughter of the racecar driver Juan Manuel Bordeu. They had three sons: Agustina, Jimena and Francisco. He got divorced, and married the model Isabel Menditeguy in 1994. They signed a prenuptial agreement, on Franco's request. The marriage got in crisis when Macri became the chairman of Boca Juniors. They stayed together anyway, but finally divorced in 2005. He started a romance with María Laura Groba, but never got married with her. He left her in 2010, and started a new relation with businesswoman Juliana Awada.[15] He got married with Awada that same year. He wore a fake moustache and impersonated singer Freddie Mercury during the party. He accidentally swallowed the moustache, and Minister of Health Jorge Lemus performed first aid to save his life.[16]

Boca Juniors

Macri taking part in a friendly match of beach soccer, 2011.
Macri playing a friendly match of beach soccer, 2011.

Macri first intended to run for chairman of Boca Juniors in 1991, but his father convinced him to wait and keep working at Sevel. He tried to buy the team Deportivo Español, but could not get support from the team's directory. He supported Boca Juniors by paying the wages of the coach César Luis Menotti and buying players for the team, such as Rubén Perazzo. Franco Macri finally allowed his son to try to run Boca Juniors, but suspected that he would fail in it. He instructed his aide Orlando Salvestrini to work alongside Mauricio, both to help him and to report his activities. Mauricio Macri met with the former chairmen of Boca Juniors Antonio Alegre and Carlos Heller, and tried to convince them to work with him. Heller was confident in his victory and rejected him, as well as Alegre. Later on, he sought the support of other groups within Boca Juniors, eventually winning the internal elections.[17]

His first years were not successful. The performance of the team was poor, the players made frequent complaints over wages and rewards, and he had changed the coach three times. The only initial improvement was a partial reconstruction of the stadium. He arranged that Boca Juniors worked in the stock exchange, to earn enough money to buy new players. His first coach was Carlos Salvador Bilardo, who brought 14 new players to the team, and ended the tournament in 10th position.[18] His second coach, Héctor Veira, made a poor performance as well.[19] The new coach, Carlos Bianchi, helped Juan Román Riquelme to boost his performance, and had Martín Palermo and Guillermo Barros Schelotto as effective forward players. They won the first two tournaments, going on a record 40-match unbeaten run.[20]

Political career

Mauricio Macri in 2007.

In 2003 Macri made his political debut when he founded the centre-right party Commitment to Change (Spanish: Compromiso para el Cambio).[21] The party was conceived as a source for new politicians, as the major parties were discredited after the December 2001 riots in Argentina.[22] Later that year he ran for mayor of the City of Buenos Aires for his party. He won the first round of the election with 37%,[23] but lost the runoff election with 46% of the vote to his opponent Aníbal Ibarra.[24] In 2005, he joined Ricardo López Murphy of Recrear to create a political coalition, the Republican Proposal (PRO) and successfully ran in the City of Buenos Aires for the Chamber of Deputies, where he won with 33.9% of the votes.[25] This and later campaigns were managed by Jaime Durán Barba.[26] A 2007 report mentioned that Macri had attended only 44 of 321 votings. He argued that he became disappointed with the Congress, as the bills sent by the presidency were not open for debate or amendment.[27] Ibarra was impeached and removed from office in 2006, because of the República Cromañón nightclub fire, and his term of office was completed by his vice, Jorge Telerman.[28]

Throughout 2006 he alternated his political activities as deputy with his presidency of the soccer club Boca Juniors. In 2007 Macri was in discussions with right-conservative Jorge Sobisch,[29] governor of Neuquén Province, ahead of the 2007 national elections. However, this agreement was in conflict with the previous alliance with Ricardo López Murphy, who also intended to run for the presidency and had denounced Sobisch for corruption. Later that year, Sobisch's image was severely damaged when the school teacher Carlos Fuentealba was killed during a union demonstration in Neuquén. Facing this situation, Macri immediately backed out of his agreements with Sobisch and remained neutral during the national elections of 2007.[30] The 2007 elections were finally won by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, from the Front for Victory (FPV).[31]

In February 2007 Macri announced that he would run once again for the mayoral elections of the City of Buenos Aires in 2007, heading the PRO slate with Gabriela Michetti as his running mate. In the first round of the election on 2 June 2007 he won with 45.6% of votes over the government-backed candidate, Daniel Filmus, who received 23.8% of the votes. The incumbent, Jorge Telerman, came in third. The runoff election between Macri and Filmus took place on 24 June 2007, and resulted in Macri's victory with 60.96% of the votes.[32][33]

Mauricio Macri made an alliance for the 2009 midterm elections with Francisco de Narváez and Felipe Solá. The alliance was successful, as De Narvaez defeated Kirchner in the Buenos Aires province and Gabriela Michetti, Macri's candidate, won the elections in the city of Buenos Aires. Macri was thus considered as a likely candidate to dispute the presidency in the 2011 elections. Cristina Kirchner's public image had a big boost after the death and state funeral of Néstor Kirchner in the late 2010, and ran for reelection. Macri ran for his reelection as mayor, instead of the presidency. He won the first rounds of the election on 10 July 2011, with 47.08% of votes against Filmus' 27.78% and Fernando "Pino" Solanas, and won the runoff against Filmus again on 31 July, with 64.25% of the votes.[34]

Buenos Aires administration

Public transport

Macri visiting the new 200 Series trains on Line A, Buenos Aires Underground

Macri's administration did a great deal of work related to public transport, seeking to reduce heavy traffic. One of those works is the Metrobus, a Bus Rapid Transit system built in the main avenues of Buenos Aires. By the end of Macri's time as mayor, the system had 5 lines and 113 stations and was 50.5 km (31.4 mi) in total length.[35]

Other streets have bikeways, to promote the use of bicycles and the city created the EcoBici bicycle sharing scheme. By the end of Macri's tenure, some 155 km (96 mi) of bicycle lanes were constructed and 49 of the planned 200 automated bicycle sharing stations had been built.[36][37]

With regards to rail transport, several level crossings on the city's commuter rail network have been replaced by tunnels to improve road traffic flow and train frequencies.[38] Under Macri's leadership, the city also committed to engage in two large-scale rail infrastructure projects which involve running viaducts through the center of the city in order to extend the Belgrano Sur Line and raise the San Martín Line to eliminate level crossings.[39] Macri also presented the Red de Expresos Regionales project, which seeks to link the city's main railway termini and railway lines through a series of underground tunnels, though construction will begin during the mandate of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta.[40]

The Buenos Aires Underground, initially maintained by the national government, was the subject of a year long dispute between Macri and Kirchner. The national government sought to transfer it to the city, wich Macri supported, but there were disputed over the budget and the time length of the transition period. Macri finally announced that the city would take control of the underground on November 13, 2012.[41] Line A, that still used wooden cars almost a century old, received a renewed fleet of modern cars (paid by the National Government), among other fleet renewals on the network such as new cars for Line H.[42][43] Among the rolling stock renewals, train purchases for Line B were criticised for being bought second-hand from the Madrid Metro, being technically incompatible with the line and costing more than the new trains for the city's commuter rail network, despite their technical superiority.[44]

Metropolitan police

Macri inspecting Metropolitan Police graduates

The main police force working in the city at the time was the national police, the Argentine Federal Police. Buenos Aires was initially a federal district with limited autonomy, and became an autonomous city with the 1994 amendment of the Constitution of Argentina. The police working in the city, however, was still the Federal Police, which depended from the national government instead of the local one. The disputes over a potential transfer of the police were still unresolved when Macri was elected mayor.

Macri tried to negotiate a transfer with president Cristina Kirchner, to no avail. As an alternative, he proposed a bill for the creation of a local police, the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Police, in 2008. This police worked alongside the federal police in the city. The bill was supported by the PRO and the Kirchnerite blocs, and rejected by the blocs of the Civic Coalition and those aligned with Ibarra. Carrió considered that Macri had declined to continue the transfer request even further, and Ibarra pointed that there would be an overlap of duties between both polices.[45] It started with nearly 1,000 agents, while the Federal Police had 17,000 agents working in the city. As a result, it only worked with small contraventions, while the most important tasks remained for the Federal police during the transition.[46]

Jorge Alberto Palacios was the first chief of the Metropolitan police. He was part of the police unit that liberated Macri from his kidnapping, and had been fired by Néstor Kirchner for his alleged involvement in the murder of Axel Blumberg. He had been acquitted of said crime afterwards. His appoint was met with controversy, as Palacios was investigated for concealing evidence of the 1994 AMIA bombing.[47] Palacios resigned a short time later, as a result of the controversy.[48]

Presidential elections

Macri's 2015 presidential campaign logo.

Macri ran for president of Argentina in the 2015 presidential elections. As President Cristina Kirchner was unable to run, initial opinion polls revealed a three-way tie among Macri, the Kirchnerite governor Daniel Scioli, and the mayor of Tigre Sergio Massa.[49] Failing to achieve enough support, the Broad Front UNEN coalition disbanded, and Elisa Carrió and the Radical Civic Union created a new coalition with the Republican Proposal, forming Cambiemos. He supported Horacio Rodríguez Larreta against Gabriela Michetti in the primary elections of PRO for the position of mayor of Buenos Aires. Larreta won both the primary and the main elections, and Michetti was selected as candidate for the vice-presidency. Macri also declined an electoral alliance with Massa, and kept María Eugenia Vidal as candidate for governor of the Buenos Aires province.[50]

Macri, Carrió and Ernesto Sanz ran in the primary elections, which Macri won.[51] Opinion polls previous to the result suggested that Scioli would win by a wide margin, and might even be able to avoid a ballotage. However, the final results showed only a narrow lead for Scioli, with his 37.08% just ahead of Macri's 34.15%, leading to new elections on 22 November. Massa got the third place, with 21% of the vote, and both candidates sought to secure the voters that had voted for him. Both candidates were polarized on the opinion about the presidency of Cristina Kirchner: Scioli proposed to keep most of the Kirchnerite policies, and Macri to change them. In the legislative elections, the FPV lost the majority of the chamber of deputies, but kept the majority of the senate.[52]

Scioli declined to attend the first leaders' debate previous to the elections, which was held between the other five candidates instead. When the ballotage was confirmed, he asked Macri for a presidential debate between both candidates, which was accepted.[53] Two debates were being organized: one by the NGO "Argentina debate", and another one by the TV news channel Todo Noticias. Macri preferred to take part in a single debate with Scioli, and opted for the one organized by Argentina Debate.[54]

Macri criticized Scioli for a negative campaigning launched by the Front for Victory.[55] Several politicians and state institutions run by the FPV released messages warning about terrible things that may happen if Macri was elected president.[56] Scioli claims that it was a campaign to encourage public awareness.[57] It was rumored that the campaign may have been suggested by the Brazilian João Santana, who organized a similar one in Brazil during the ballotage of Dilma Rousseff and Aécio Neves.[58]

The ballotage was held on November 22. Daniel Scioli accepted his defeat when 70% of the votes were counted; the provisional results were 53% and 47% at that moment.[59] The distance between both candidates slowly reduced in the following hours, leading to a victory of a smaller margin for Macri than most exit polls suggested.[60] Nevertheless, his victory has ended the 12-year rule of Kirchnerism in the country.[61] Days after the election, United States President Barack Obama telephoned Macri to congratulate him on the results. According to the White House press release, President Obama "emphasized the longstanding partnership between the United States and Argentina and conveyed his commitment to deepen cooperation on multilateral issues, improve commercial ties, and expand opportunities in the energy sector".[62]

Presidency

Presidential styles of
Mauricio Macri
Standard of the President of Argentina.svg
Reference style Excelentísimo Señor Presidente de la Nación
"His Most Excellent Mister President of the Nation"
Spoken style Presidente de la Nación
"President of the Nation"
Alternative style Señor Presidente
"Mister President"

Inauguration

Macri announced the full composition of his cabinet on November 25, 2015, some two weeks before he was due to take office.[63][64][65] The period of presidential transition proved to be particularly conflictive. Both presidents had a very short meeting, where Cristina refused to provide any help or insight for Macri's future administration, and only accepted to talk about the ceremony.[66] Kirchner and Macri did not agree on the place where the ceremony should take place: Kirchner wanted to do it at the Palace of the Argentine National Congress, and Macri at the White Hall of the Casa Rosada.[67][68] There were also rumors of violent actions against Macri supporters in the vicinity of the Plaza during the ceremony, and it became unclear who would have command over the police during the event.[69] Judge Maria Servini de Cubría ruled that Kirchner's term of office ceased at midnight on December 10. As a result, Federico Pinedo, the provisional president of the Senate, was appointed president in the 12 hours between the end of Kirchner's term and Macri's swearing in.[70] Kirchner left Buenos Aires in order to attend the inauguration of her sister-in-law Alicia Kirchner as governor of Santa Cruz Province, which took place the same day.[71]

Macri took office on 10 December 2015. He began the ceremony starting from his apartment in the neighborhood of Recoleta at the corner of Avenida del Libertador and Cavia at 11:00pm to the National Congress of Argentina with his wife Juliana Awada and his youngest daughter of 4 years old, through the Casa Rosada and the Plaza de Mayo. At 11:41 he entered the room where the Legislature was, taking an oath after the Vice President Gabriela Michetti. Then he delivered a speech of 27 minutes in which he pledged his "support for an independent judiciary, to fight corruption and drug trafficking, the internal union of Argentina, universal social protection, create a XXI-century style of education and that everyone can have a roof, water and sewer". He also greeted those who were his competitors during the presidential elections.[72]

Macri receives the presidential sash from acting president Federico Pinedo.

Later he went to the Casa Rosada, where he received the presidential attributes in the White Hall at the hands of the Temporary President of the Senate, Federico Pinedo, accompanied by Vice President Gabriela Michetti, President of the Chamber of Deputies Emilio Monzó and President of the Supreme Court Ricardo Lorenzetti. Minutes later he went to the historic balcony where thousands of people waited in the Plaza de Mayo, expressing his hope that "Argentines deserve to live better and we are about to start a wonderful period for our country. I promise to be always telling the truth, and showing where our problems are" and calling "all the Argentines to accompany his administration and alert them when [the government] makes mistakes".[73]

After being anointed President, he gave a reception at the San Martín Palace of Argentina Foreign Ministry to all the heads of state present: Michelle Bachelet from Chile, Horacio Cartes from Paraguay, Juan Manuel Santos from Colombia, Rafael Correa from Ecuador, Evo Morales from Bolivia, Dilma Rousseff from Brazil, King Juan Carlos I of Spain and representatives of other countries attending his inauguration.[74]

Economic policy

Macri alongside President Bill Clinton, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and London Mayor Sadiq Khan at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Mauricio Macri started his presidency with several economic difficulties carried from previous governments. The bank reserves of the Central Bank of Argentina were depleted. Inflation was over 30%, although the widely discredited INDEC provided lower figures. The country had the highest fiscal pressure in history, and even yet the government budget balance had a deficit of 8%. There was a sovereign default since 2001, and a conflict with hedge funds. Tight currency controls were in place since 2011. Even worse, as Argentina is a developing country, the international drop of commodity prices of the time hindered the trade revenue.[75]

One of the first economic policies of the presidency of Macri was the removal of the currency controls. People was allowed to freely buy and sell foreign currencies as a result. Argentina has a floating exchange rate since then, with intervention from the Central Bank.[76] The Argentine peso had a 30% devaluation as a result.[77] The economists described the move as "perfectly orchestrated".[75] Another early policy was the removal of the export quotas and tariffs for corn and wheat.[78] Tariffs for soybean, the most lucrative Argentine export, were not removed but reduced from 35% to 30%.[79]

Macri sought to negotiate with the holdouts and end the default, in order to return to the international capital markets and benefit the national economy.[80] Argentina made an offer to pay $6.5 billion to settle lawsuits on February 5, requesting that the prior ruling on payments be lifted.[81] The deal would still need to be ratified by the Argentine Congress.[80] Although Cambiemos did not have a majority at either house of the Congress, the bill was approved by both of them in March. With the bill approved, Argentina faced a court hearing in New York on April 13.[82] The court confirmed the ruling of Griesa, and allowed Argentina to pay to the bondholders of 2005, 2010 and those that were still in default.[83] The payment was done with a bond sale.[84] This appeared to the media to be the end of the Argentine default, which had started in 2001.[85]

On January 19, 2016, Macri attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland with Sergio Massa and part of his cabinet, looking for investments.[86] He was one of the most expected figures in the meeting, alongside the prime minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and the US vicepresident of the time, Joe Biden.[87] It was the first time that Argentina participated in the Forum since 2003. The last president to attend was Eduardo Duhalde.[88]

In the first year, the economy at large did not recover at the expected pace. Unemployment and inflation stayed high, and growth was small.[89] The Careful Pricing price controls program established by Kirchner was kept, although with a revision of the products included in it. The program benefits several small and medium-sized enterprises. The government started several public works as well, to stimulate the economy and help the construction sector.[90] The political intervention over the INDEC figures ended, and the IMF declared in November 2016 that the Argentine statistics were in line with international standards once again.[91] The OECD considers that Argentina may get out of recession in 2017 and 2018, and lowered the country risk from seven points to six.[92]

Macri aims to increase trade relations with the United States, Europe and East Asia, to increase national growth.[89] He also seeks to increase the digital economy in the country.[89] For this end, he reduced 35% the tariffs of computer, laptop and tablet imports, which were 200% more expensive than in the US and 50% more expensive than in neighbour Chile.[93]

Energy policy

The taxes for public services such as electricity, gas, and water supply were fixed in 2002 by Eduardo Duhalde, during the 2001 economic crisis. The Kirchners kept them fixed, and the state financed part of these prices with subsidies to compensate for the inflation. Investment in these areas decreased, and the generation and distribution networks suffered. Argentina lost its self-supply of energy, and had to import it, rather than being able to export surpluses.[94] The costs of energy imports increased the trade deficit and the inflation rate, and power outages became frequent.[95] The Kirchners left the grid on the brink of collapse.[96]

Minister Juan José Aranguren arranged the removal of state subsidies to electricity, gas, and water distribution, which caused a huge increase in the taxes for those services. Those increases were met by protests in numerous cities by people bearing banners, bugles, and noise-making cacerolazos.[97] Several courts nulled the tax increase, as it had been ordered without a previous audience with customers to explain it, as required by law. The Supreme Court ratified the temporary halt to the tax increase, but only for residential customers. The customer audiences were celebrated in September.

Foreign relations

Mauricio Macri with Brazilian president Michel Temer.

The foreign relations of Argentina during the presidency of Macri took a radical shift from those of his predeccesor Kirchner. He inmediately proposed to take action against the regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, for its human rights abuses, and try to remove it from the Mercosur.[98] This shift is part of the decline of the Latin American Pink Tide.[99] The other countries in the bloc opposed the Chavista regime of Maduro as well, and prevented Venezuela from taking the pro-tempore presidency of the Mercosur. The bloc soughts instead a trade and cooperation agreement with the European Union, and closer links with the Pacific Alliance.[100] Macri agreed with Michel Temer, president of Brazil, to remove the trade barriers between both countries and guarantee free trade between them.[101] Macri and Temer increased their interest in greater trade relations with Mexico, the second largest economy of Latin America, when the contry got in a diplomatic conflict with US president Donald Trump.[102]

Macri shifted as well the relations with the United States. Barack Obama praised Macri during a two days visit in 2016. He said "I'm impressed because he has moved rapidly on so many of the reforms that he promised, to create more sustainable and inclusive economic growth, to reconnect Argentina with the global economy and the world community". Obama announced that the US would declassify military and intelligence records related to the 1970s Dirty War.[103] Chancellor Susana Malcorra supported the Democrat Hillary Clinton in the American 2016 presidential elections, which were won by the Republican Donald Trump. He then moved on to improve diplomatic relations with Trump. He established harsher controls over immigration, limiting the entry of convicted criminals and easing the deportation of foreigners that commit crimes. Those limits were compared with Trump's border policies.[104]

Macri mantains the Argentine claim on the Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute. However, he took a less confrontational stance towards the United Kingdom, and allowed more flighs between Argentina and the islands. The relations between both countries have improved, but the United Kingdom mantains its claim in the dispute as well and refuses to start negotiations about it.[105]

Macri shifted the position in the middle-east conflict as well. In his first week in office he voided the Memorandum of understanding between Argentina and Iran, which would have established a joint investigation of the 1994 AMIA Bombing, a terrorist attack against a Jewish institution, suspected of being commited by the Hezbollah militia. The memorandum had already been ruled unconstitutional by the judiciary, which was apealled during the presidency of Kirchner. Macri simply ordered to withdrew the appeal, which ratified the judiciary ruling.[106] Macri distanced from Iran, and encouraged to keep the investigations of both the AMIA bombing and the death of Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who was investigating the case.[107] Those judicial cases, as well as the probe of Nisman against Kirchner, are of special interest for the Argentina–Israel relations. Ambassador Carlos Faustino García and Israeli diplomat Modi Efraim praised the advances of those cases during the presidency of Macri.[108] It was also announced that Argentina would give asylum to 3,000 refugees of the Syrian Civil War.[109]

Political views

LGBT rights

Macri announced his personal support for same-sex marriage and adoption for LGBT couples, and outlined plans to pursue the issue in early 2009. "The world is going in this direction. We have to live with and accept this reality. I hope they are happy," said Macri when he decided to not appeal the ruling that enabled two men to marry civilly. It was during his tenure as Mayor of Buenos Aires that the first gay marriage in Latin America was performed in the city.[110][111] Because of this support, it began a tense relationship between Macri, and former Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, because, unlike Macri, he was strongly opposed to the enactment of the Act for same sex marriage in Argentina.[112] Current Chief of Government of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta said "Macri installed the discussion of equal marriage" in the country and described him as a person "with strong positions for sexual diversity".[113]

Abortion

Macri has expressed views in opposition to abortion. In an interview published by La Nación in 2014, he stated: "I am in favor of life; I don't think we need to open that debate".[114] Nevertheless, he clarified that he would abide by any law on the matter sanctioned by Congress, regardless of his personal views.[115]

Indigenous peoples

On December 16 Macri met with members of the Qom community and 30 other ethnic groups of indigenous peoples. The meeting was held at the Museum of the Bicentennial of the Government House and the delegation was headed by the leader of the Qom community, Felix Diaz. Macri said recognition of indigenous communities and support for policies regarding indigenous peoples are state policies during his government as President.[116]

Scandals

Spy scandal

Sergio Burstein was the leader of a group of people whose relatives have died in the AMIA bombing. Macri was indicted in 2010 in a wiretapping case, suspected of spying on both Burstein and his own brother-in-law Néstor Daniel Leonardo. Macri denied the charges. Judge Norberto Oyarbide indicted him, and the members of the Federal Chamber Eduardo Farah, Eduardo Freiler and Jorge Ballestero confirmed the indictment. It was suspected at the time that he had organized a clandestine spy network, with the aid of Palacios and the spy Ciro James. The case was transferred to judge Sebastián Casanello in 2010, who ordered further investigations. It was then revealed that Macri had little insight about Palacios' specific daily activities, and that it was his minister Mariano Narodowski who appointed Ciro James. As for Daniel Leonardo, Franco Macri confessed to be the one who hired private agencies to spy him.[117]

Casanello dismissed the charges in 2015,[118] but Leonardo appealed the ruling. The ruling was confirmed some months later by the Federal chamber. Farah, Freiler and Ballestero all voted for the acquittal. They justified their votes in that the evidences found in the later investigations ruled out the initial conclusions that could be taken from the first evidences of the case. Other people involved in the case, such as Palacios, are still under investigation.[117]

Panama Papers

The Panama Papers international scandal broke in 2016, when 11.5 million leaked documents outed details about offshore entities owned by people from many countries. Macri was listed as a director of the Fleg Trading firm in the 1998-2009 period. He had not declared the firm in 2007, when he became mayor, or in 2015, when he became president. Prosecutor Federico Delgado asked the judiciary to investigate if the case means that Macri "maliciously failed to complete his tax declaration". Macri argued in his defense that he never mentioned the company because he did not have stakes in it, or actually received money from it.[119] The company had been established by his father Franco Macri, to run a business in Brazil, which was never completed.[120] Macri owns other foreign-held accounts with money movements, which were properly disclosed.[121] He also said he would file a judicial "declaration of certainty", so that the judiciary could confirm his statements.[122] A similar company, Kagemusha SA, was discovered some months later. It was also opened by Franco Macri, with Mauricio Macri as vicepresident. It was opened in 1981, when Mauricio Macri was aged 22.[123]

Orders

Ancestry

See also

References

  1. ^ "Mauricio Macri, el primer presidente desde 1916 que no es peronista ni radical" (in Spanish). Los Andes. 22 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Qué estudiaron y a qué universidades fueron los candidatos a Presidente". Girabsas. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
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Bibliography

  • (several authors) (November 2015). Todo Macri: vida, poder y secretos del nuevo presidente. Argentina: Perfil. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jorge Telerman
Chief of Government of Buenos Aires
2007–2015
Succeeded by
Horacio Rodríguez Larreta
Preceded by
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
President of Argentina
2015–present
Incumbent