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ARGENTINA | 12-02-2022 21:26

'Act of good sense' – President praises opposition support for IMF deal

President Alberto Fernández praises opposition coalition's support for new IMF financing programme. saying he considered it to be an "act of good sense."

President Alberto Fernández on Saturday praised the opposition, saying he considered it "act of good sense" that Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) supports his government's negotiations for a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In comments to press following a meeting on Thursday, the opposition coalition's leaders said on Thursday that they considered "the principle of understanding" reached by Fernández's Peronist government with the IMF to be "positive," with another adding that "Argentina must honour its debts." Several said they would back the deal in Congress, which must approve the agreement, to prevent the country from entering into default.

Fernández said in comments to a local radio station that he hopes that the attitude of the opposition "will help to solve the very serious problem" facing Argentina, a reference to the ongoing talks with the multilateral lender over Argentina's US$44.5-billion debt. The money owed relates to the record US$57-billion stand-by loan granted in 2018, when Mauricio Macri, one of the coalition's key leaders, served as president.

"That debt was generated because the US government at the time [of Republican president Donald Trump] facilitated with its votes at the Fund that this credit was given and this is not what I say, but what they themselves have said," said the president. 

Fernández added that "just as Trump worked to favour the Macri government and give it a loan that was very harmful to Argentina, at this time the US government [of Democrat Joe Biden] – when the time came to find a solution or a beginning of a way out of the problem – accompanied it with its vote".

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said last week that the agreement "needs broader support from society than the one that collapsed in 2018."

The minority Kirchnerite wing of the ruling Frente de Todos coalition, led by national deputy Máximo Kirchner, the son of Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, has already indicated that it does not support the deal, though it is unclear if its lawmakers will abstain or vote against the deal.

Though some information has been made known, some lawmakers are waiting for the fine print of the deal to be made available in order to define their position.

In setting out its position, Juntos por el Cambio made its support conditional on the agreement not implying an increase in taxes or the creation of new ones. It also criticised the ruling coalition's "lack of unity" in the face of the negotiations.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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