Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Perfil

ARGENTINA | 20-11-2019 22:02

Macri ponders post-presidential role as global anti-populist leader

Argentina's outgoing leader is not just convinced he has a role to play as opposition leader, he's also looking farther afield.

The 40 percent of votes he won in last month's elections convinced President Mauricio Macri to remain involved in political life, leading the opposition. Now, the regional crisis gripping Latin America has strengthened his conviction that he can become a reference point for liberalism and anti-populism on the international stage.

Macri’s future trajectory is still being defined, but some ideas are starting to take shape. The Juntos por el Cambio leader will have set up an office far away from the centre of Buenos Aires, which will serve as a focal point for a "responsible opposition." Above all though, the goal for Macri to maintain coalition unity, so he can be a political alternative in the future. 

Though another run for Macri isn’t on the radar right now, sources say, it hasn’t been completely ruled out. Nevertheless, a candidacy wouldn't need to be defined until months before the 2021 primaries, if he ran in the midterms, or in 2023, in the case of a presidential run. 

On the international stage, there’s no defined outline for Macri's next months, but those close to the president expect him to receive plenty of invitations to be a speaker at talks, conferences or summits around the world.

“During his presidency, he cultivated good relationships with leaders throughout much of the world and he generated a positive impact in different environments,” they say at the Casa Rosada, citing a long list of foreign policy successes – at Davos soon after assuming office, the G20 presidency of 2018, plus the Mercosur-European Union free-trade agreement, the multiple international summits hosted in Buenos Aires, etc.

Those close to Macri believe his standing in the global community will be unaffected by his electoral defeat. They believe that “the world” believes Macri’s outlook is “the right one.” During his administration, it was often said that the president felt more comfortable and supported during his trips overseas than in his own country. 

Through such activities, Macri would look to be a reference point in the fight against populism. In contrast to the region's progressive leaders, who have the Grupo de Puebla, the more liberal factions of Latin America do not have a framework that aligns them together. The current approach typically focuses on bilateral rather than multilateral – relations, trips in which one leader travels to another country for a conversation between “friends,” an informal encounter between leaders. 

Sources close to Macri say they imagine the president will have a quieter agenda in 2020. He will alternate trips within Argentina, to continue work with his own troop, and trips outside the country. But, above all, he’ll spend time in his new offices so he can closely follow Alberto Fernández's presidency.

The search for a new house and office 

The soon-to-be former president doesn’t just need a new office – he needs a new home, too. Earlier this year, he sold his apartment on Avenida del Libertador in the Barrio Parque neighbourhood that, for the four years previous, has been occupied by his head of the intelligence services, Gustavo Arribas. 

Macri’s family currently residents in the Quinta de Olivos presidential residence. According to sources consulted by Perfil, he’s wants his next home to be located in Zona Norte, in an area such as Vicente Lopez. 

Near there too, he plans to set up his office. Much is still to be defined, but what’s certain is that his next base will be outside of the City centre, far from the capital's regular demonstrations, crowds, strikes and transit chaos. From there, he will monitor President Fernández, defend his administration's record – and work to maintain the unity of his Juntos por el Cambio coalition.

Gabriel Ziblat

Gabriel Ziblat

Subeditor de Política - Diario Perfil.

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