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ARGENTINA | 14-11-2021 17:14

Sergio Massa: Alberto Fernández 'will call for dialogue with opposition' after vote

President "will call for dialogue with opposition" after midterm elections whatever the result, says Lower House speaker as he casts vote.

Lower House Speaker Sergio Massa says President Alberto Fernández will “surely call for dialogue” with the opposition to overcome Argentina’s economic woes, whatever the result in today’s election.

Speaking after he cast his vote in Tigre, his personal stronghold, at around midday  the Renewal Front leader and member of the ruling Frente de Todos coalition said that Argentina’s two main political groupings needed to come together for the country’s future.

"The government has, through the Economic and Social Council and the parliament, the tools to seek agreements with the opposition and surely the president will call for dialogue with businessmen, workers, obviously the ruling party and the opposition to continue building a scenario of predictability and future for Argentines," said Massa.

The 49-year-old ex-Tigre mayor called on the government and the opposition to work together in a “constructive spiti” for the greater good.

"Argentines do not need politicians fighting, but politicians solving the enormous amount of problems that we had and that were aggravated by the pandemic," he said.  

Quizzed about the potential reaction to the elections on Monday, Massa said that the government had the “responsibility of governing, of recovering jobs and of consolidating Argentina's growth."  

He said his role, as leader of the lower house Chamber of Deputies, is to seek “agreements” with all parties to deliver “economic growth” and “consolidate the idea of a country in which work is the central actor and education is the instrument of upward social mobility.”

Hopes of a breakthrough in Argentina's polarised political landscape should not be ignited just yet though. 

Speaking after she cast her vote at La Rural in the capital on Sunday, opposition PRO party leader Patricia Bullrich said that she had not heard "any call for dialogue." 

Revealing that the leaders of the Juntos por el Cambio coalition would meet Monday afternoon, she said that "each Argentine had a responsibility for the future" and confirmed that a higher turnout is anticipated than in the primaries.

In today’s election, voters are renewing half of the seats in the lower house and a third of the Senate in a critical test for President Fernandez and his government. 

Mandatory voting for most adults began at 8am local time and results are expected late Sunday night. The key races are in Buenos Aires City and Province, where Frente de Todos squares off against its main rival, Juntos por el Cambio. 

The president isn’t on the ballot, but the vote will serve as a way for citizens to weigh in on his term amid annual inflation of more than 50 percent, increasing poverty and lack of access to debt markets. 

Fernández, who cast his ballot Sunday morning at a university in Buenos Aires, said in a radio interview he has no plans to make changes in the government following the results.

“Tomorrow we will continue governing and working to solve people’s problems,” he said later in a post on Twitter.

 

– TIMES/NA/BLOOMBERG

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