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LATIN AMERICA | 13-08-2019 13:02

Evo Morales: Argentina's PASO vote is a 'rebellion' against IMF

Bolivian president describes results of Sunday's vote as "a rebellion of the Argentine people against the economic model of the International Monetary Fund."

The results of Argentina's PASO primaries are prompting leaders across the region to offer their take.

A day after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro warned of a potential flood of Argentine refugees to his country should Peronist candidate Alberto Fernández win election in October, Bolivian President Evo Morales expressed concern about the repercussions for his own country, saying the development had led him into a period of "deep reflection."

On Sunday, Alberto Fernández won the most number of votes in Argentina's PASO primaries, taking 47 percent of the vote. President Mauricio Macri trailed with 32 percent. The incumbent now faces a mountain to climb if he is to win re-election in October, with Fernández– the Frente de Todos leader – the clear favourite to serve as Argentina's next president.

Speaking in La Paz on Tuesday, Morales said he viewed the results of the primary vote as a "rebellion" against the economic model of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a reference to austerity measures taken by the Macri administration to comply with the terms of Argentina's US$56-billion credit line it sealed with the institution last year.

"I can understand that it is a rebellion of the Argentine people against the economic model of the International Monetary Fund," said Morales, a close ally of former Argentine preisdents Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernaández de Kirchner, who is seconding Alberto Fernández's ticket as his vice-presidential running-mate this time out.

The Bolivian leader has long been critical of Argentina's agreements with the IMF. Morales, an ally of Cuba and Venezuela, has argued that his nation has achieved stability and regular economic growth without needing the IMF's help.

Morales also revealed that he has been holding meetings with local businessmen, indigenous groups and workers in order to assess how the fall-out would affect Bolivia.

"You know how the Argentines are – yesterday we evaluated the situation with entrepreneurs and Conalcam [local social organisations] how the situation in Argentina may affect us,” he said.

He said his concern was down to the fact that the "the dollar has skyrocketed" in Argentina, referencing troublesome times in the exchange markets as Argentina's peso weakens sharply against the dollar.

"That worries me a lot," he added

Argentina is, after Brazil, the second most important market for Bolivian exports, mainly natural gas.

– TIMES/AFP

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