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  • Candidate Alberto Fernandez at the presidential debate in Santa Fe, Argentina, Oct. 13, 2019

    Candidate Alberto Fernandez at the presidential debate in Santa Fe, Argentina, Oct. 13, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 October 2019
Opinion

International and local media highlighted President Mauricio Macri's poor performance during the recent presidential debates.

Less than two weeks before the elections in Argentina, the presidential candidates held on Sunday the first public debate. This debate allowed citizens of Argentina to witness opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez's dominate performance against President Mauricio Macri.

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Both international and local media stressed that while leftist candidate Fernandez maintained clear positions on many issues, Macri tried to avoid defining his stance on sensitive policy issues.

According to the Spanish outlet El Pais, Fernandez "took a clear position on a matter as crucial and delicate as abortion, for he declared himself in favor of its legalization. Macri preferred not to pronounce himself."

Chile's most influential mainstream media El Mercurio stressed that Fernandez displayed how the current Argentinian president had failed the people, emphasizing that the middle class had been the most beaten during the last year in a country whose economy, unlike what the right-wing candidate holds, is not "about to start growing again."

"Macri’s lies led us to this economic crisis. He scammed voters and they said enough! Alberto President." The meme reads, "519 percent currency devaluation."

The day after the debate, the Financial Times (FT), which could be considered one of the main global economic newspapers, published an article with strong criticism of President Macri.

Besides recalling Argentina's critical situation, the FT noted that indicators of macroeconomic performance did not favor a candidate seeking reelection at all.

“A second consecutive year of recession, a sharp devaluation of the peso, a record-breaking US$57 billion IMF bailout, rising poverty and worsening unemployment would be dire for any candidate seeking re-election. But for a scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families, they are especially toxic,” FT said. 

"The debate made it clear that Mauricio Macri was coming to do what he did with Argentina. My solidarity from Montevideo, Uruguay." The meme reads, from left to right, "What happens with the countries that turn right. Argentina: unemployment, poverty, hunger. Ecuador: prices hikes, street violence. Brazil: corruption, destruction of the Amazon, human rights violations.

“The perception now is that Macri is an idiot who has no sensitivity to people, is upper-class and doesn’t understand anything,” were the expressions issued by the Buenos Aires University professor Luis Tonelli, who was remembered by the FT and dozens of local media. 

Fernandez's surprisingly comfortable win in the August primary all but ended Macri's hopes of being reelected.

"Probability of Fernandez not winning in the first round is very, very low. The economy has done nothing but get worse since the primary election, so it's not likely that Macri is gaining much ground," Julio Burdman, an analyst from Observatorio Electoral, a local political polling, said. 

To win in the October 27 first-round, Fernandez must get at least 45 percent of the vote or 40 percent with a difference of 10 percentage points over his nearest rival.

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