Macri meets governors amid change of tone for Argentina

Argentina`s new President Mauricio Macri met with governors on Saturday in another major change of tone from his predecessor Cristina Kirchner`s confrontational style.

AFP| Last Updated: Dec 13, 2015, 06:35 AM IST

Buenos Aires: Argentina`s new President Mauricio Macri met with governors on Saturday in another major change of tone from his predecessor Cristina Kirchner`s confrontational style.

Macri was sworn in as Argentina`s new president Thursday, turning the page on 12 years under left-wing power couple Nestor and Cristina Kirchner. The outgoing president was famous for her harsh treatment of foes.

Their pro-poor, pro-working-class policies endeared them to a loyal following among many voters.

Macri, 56, a conservative businessman, marks the start of a new era for Argentina. He welcomed the leaders of 24 jurisdictions to the Olivos presidential residence, looking for common ground.

"I think that we all agree on the need to create jobs," Macri said.

"There is a consensus that in the (22) provinces the only growth area has been in public sector jobs. And that has helped bring many of the provinces into bankruptcy," Macri said.

In an interesting twist, one of the governors he met was a Kirchner -- Alicia Kirchner, the sister of Nestor Kirchner, who now leads Santa Cruz province in the Patagonia region.

With Latin America`s third-largest economy now slumping back toward recession, Macri`s calls for change propelled him to a come-from-behind win in the run-off election on November 22 against Kirchner`s chosen successor, Daniel Scioli.

He has vowed to end protectionist import restrictions, cut heavy taxes on agricultural exports and scrap the official exchange rate puffing up the Argentine peso.

The son of a wealthy businessman, Macri rose to fame as the president of Argentina`s most popular football club, Boca Juniors, during a storied string of trophy wins.

The twice-divorced father of four, who is married to a former model turned businesswoman, had been Buenos Aires mayor since 2007.