Presidential hopeful Miguel Ángel Pichetto said Sunday that the Macri government's announced increase in welfare payments was "light Kirchnerism".
President Macri confirmed during a heated opening of the 2019 Congressional sessions that the Universal Child Allowance (AUH) welfare benefit would rise by 46 percent, from 1,800 to 2,644 pesos as from March.
Senator Pichetto, Peronist minority leader in the Senate, is part of a group of Peronist leaders vying for the chance to take Macri on in the October 2019 general and presidential elections.
"Workers get 32 percent, with luck, while AUH recipients get 46 percent", Pichetto told Radio Mitre, referring to the difference in collective wage bargaining outcomes for trade unions and the government's planned increases in the Universal Child Allowance (AUH).
"Theirs is a light Kirchnerism", he said ironically, in reference to the previous populist government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
"They (the Macri administration) has maintained the spending structure of welfare plans", Pichetto charged. This is taking Argentina "directly toward decadence and failure".
"This plan cannot last more than one year and people need to go out to look for work. The government should concern itself with creating the right conditions for employment so that companies can be more competitive", he added.
Only seven months remain until Argentines go to the polls to determine the direction the country will take for four more years.
Macri is facing the fight of his life, as Argentina's stagnant economy wears away at voter patience. So far, no clear Peronist frontrunner has emerged from the broad group interested in challenging the President.