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ARGENTINA | 01-06-2018 11:17

Macri rubs shoulders with Urtubey amid political turbulence over IMF, utility prices

Salta Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey has expressed his intentions to run for president in 2019. The former ally of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner jumped ship almost immediately after President Macri’s 2015 electoral triumph over Kirchnerite candidate Daniel Scioli.

Mauricio Macri travelled to Salta province on Thursday where he met with his friend, Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey.

The President’s visit came almost immediately after he vetoed a law that passed the Senate this week to freeze utility prices and wind them back to November, 2017 levels.

“Nothing has changed, they (the opposition) are back to where they started”, Macri said.

The law “has been vetoed. It has no financing, those who voted in favour of it did not say where they would find the resources (to finance the law)”, he charged. “It’s not the responsibility of Congress to establish utility prices”, Macri added.

The head of state took aim at the Justicialist Party (JP), traditionally the country’s most powerful political party, saying they “must explain why they voted for a law that even they said was a disaster”.

The political and social tension that characterises Argentina has reached boiling point in the last few weeks after the strong and sudden devaluation of the peso, the national currency, and Macri government's announcement that it would seek a line of credit with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

2019

Following the break-down of a legislative alliance with dissident Peronist Sergio Massa and his Renewal Front movement last year, Macri has been focussing his attention on shoring up his bonds with the country's governors.

Many governor wield great influence over lawmakers representing their respective provinces in the national Congress.

Macri's relationship with Urtubey is a curious one since the Salta leader has long expressed his intentions to run for president in 2019. The former ally of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner jumped ship almost immediately after Macri’s 2015 electoral triumph over Kirchnerite candidate Daniel Scioli.

The governor said Thursday that he would “continue working to ensure the president was successful” while insisting that in 2019 he would propose a “better alternative” to govern the country.

“We’re Peronists and we are going to propose a better alternative. I am among those who believe we should try to compete not so that our opponent fails but because we can offer something better”, he said during a join press conference with Macri.

“The (Macri) government is pushing a policy of austerity which I do not share”, he insisted.

-TIMES

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