Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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ARGENTINA | 15-07-2019 10:17

Liberal outsider Espert launches campaign targeting Macri voters

Businessman José Luis Espert launched his official run for the presidency on Sunday. His liberal coalition Despertar hopes to peel votes away from President Macri.

"Long live freedom, long live freedom", were the words that echoed out inside the Ferro football stadium on Sunday, as presidential hopeful José Luis Espert launched his official campaign alongside his allies in the UCeDé liberal party.

Fired up and, at times, emotional, the economist and businessman has positioned himself as an outsider, with strong criticisms Sunday evening levelled at each of his fellow contenders in the race for the Pink House.

Blue and white were the colours of the night, with Eye of The Tiger ringing out despite a campaign video of Espert's posted on Youtube which was subsequently removed as a result of an alleged copyright infringement.

The event had lasted one hour and 45 minutes by the time Espert came on stage. He followed speeches from candidates for the country's Congress and his running mate Luis Rosales. His own speech lasted a short 15 minutes.

In it, Espert described former president and vice-presidential candidate Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as "the demented woman with multiple indictments" against her for alleged corruption and Macri as "the little boy playing in the big leagues so he can show his dead father, whom he himself described as a crook, that he [Mauricio Macri] is not as useless as he [Franco Macri] thought".

Espert and his Despertar coalition reached the campaign stage only after a fierce and highly public spat with the electoral courts, which had ruled to block them from running after one founding member party the UNIR decided to return to Macri's Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) coalition.

"They realised they couldn't do away with us so easily", Espert charged in reference to Macri's alleged influence on the courts. "Here we are, on our feet".

"Macri tried to ensure that we would not compete but here we are and we're going to compete", Espert added.

He also took aim at the Macri administration for subjecting Argentina to "another one of the crises it tends to have".

He promised to take on the country's unions if elected. "We've got to move against the unions because our current labour laws are no use", he said, promising to limit the right to strike.

In line with his liberal beliefs, the economist said he would work to strengthen Argentina as "an open economy" and to put an end to supposed "rackets" within the country's business community.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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