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  • President Mauricio Macri at a news conference after the presidential primaries in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 12, 2019.

    President Mauricio Macri at a news conference after the presidential primaries in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 12, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 August 2019

The far-right president has proposed temporary economic measures in an obvious move to win voters before his massive loss in the primary election. 

Argentina's far-right president Mauricio Macri announced Wednesday economic measures that for the first time in his presidency would be in favor of the workers and the poor, in a move to attract voters after suffering a significant loss in last Sunday's primary elections, which showed him losing to the progressive coalition in the first round of the October presidential elections.

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"Regarding the election results, know that I understood you. What happened is purely and exclusively my responsibility," Macri said before announcing measures that will he says will help "17 million workers and their families."

The electoral intention of the "relief package" is too obvious: try to capture voters before the October elections.

To that effect, the right-wing president proposes that workers receive an additional US$34 income in both September and October as his government will assume the payment of workers' contributions to social security.

Public sector workers, military and social security employees will receive a US$86 bonus at the end of August. Students who receive the Progress scholarships will receive a 40 percent increase in their grants.

Unemployed, informal Argentinian workers and those who earn less than the minimum wage will receive two additional payments of the "Universal Allowance Per Child" (AUH), a poverty-related bonus which is granted to parents who have children under 18 or children with disabilities.

In addition to all that, a technical table will be convened to increase the minimum vital salary for Argentinian workers.

High-income people will receive a US$34 reduction in income taxes per month. This group will also receive a refund of taxes paid in 2019, which could reach US$205 in the case of a family having two children and a US$1,365 monthly gross income.

To capture sympathies within the business sector, Macri proposed that small and medium-sized companies can pay their outstanding debts with the Federal Administration of Public Income (AFIP) within the next 10 years.

And finally, the gasoline price will be frozen for 90 days, that is, for a period that goes a little beyond the second round of the presidential elections later this year. 

In the primary elections carried out on Aug. 11, the landslide victory by Alberto Fernandez and Cristina Fernandez dealt a severe blow to Macri's reelection chances and roiled financial markets on fears Argentina could abandon neoliberal policies.

The peso, the Argentinian currency, closed ​​​​​​ at 55.9 pesos per U.S. dollar on Tuesday, after touching 59 to the dollar earlier in the day. The currency had hit an all-time low on Monday of 65 to the dollar, a drop of 30 percent.

The meltdown in Argentina's currency, stocks and bonds, which has been the worst since the 2001 debt crisis, sent shock waves through emerging markets.​​​​​​​

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