Roberto Lavagna today called for the suspension of the election campaign given economic turmoil, calling on his fellow presidential hopefuls to work together to address the hardships facing many Argentines.
The 'third way' Consenso Federal leader also called on the government to declare a "food and health emergency programme" to tackle rising poverty and runaway inflation. He offered to host a roundtable dialogue with key figures in order to work together to solve the crisis.
"The Republic is going through one of its cyclical socio-economic and financial crises in these days, whose magnitude and depth is still unpredictable," Lavagna said, adding that the origins of the difficulties lie in "extreme polarisation ... that the last two governments built over eight years of stagnation."
Argentines were the victims of this "friend or foe" strategy, he said, which has led to "high volatility and instability in the markets" that is damaging everyday citizens.
"Extremes do not inspire confidence," he added.
On the day the INDEC national statistics bureau revealed prices have risen by more 54 percent over the last 12 months, Lavagna said many in the country were suffering a lack of food and "essential items and services such as medicines and hospital supplies."
"At Consenso Federal, we believe that the seriousness of the moment requires us to contribute to the tranquility of the population," he added.
He called on the government to announce an immediate "implementation of a food and heath emergency programme" and proposed all "governors, mayors and civil society organisations" unify to establish the depth of product shortages and resolve the issue.
Suspension of campaigning
Among the bolder declarations made by Lavagna was a call for all candidates to cancel campaigning for the October election "for several weeks, until we recover the serenity and stability that we need," emphasising the "severity" of the crisis.
His request is unlikely to be met, however, after President Mauricio Macri finished 15 points behind opposition candidate Alberto Fernández in Sunday's PASO primaries. To give up campaigning would be akin to throwing in the towel for the incumbent.
Lavagna also called on the government to request a renegotiation of the terms of its US$56-billion credit-line with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying the agreement was "impossible to meet without imposing many more years of adjustment and suffering on Argentines."
Echoing the 'consensus' tag of his political grouping, Lavagna said it was "essential" to set up a roundtable dialogue between presidential candidates and "social, religious and institutional sectors," arguing that Argentina's problems would only be solved together.
"This will allow us to find, more quickly, the solutions that will benefit the most humble and those with greater urgencies," he said.