Argentines Protest President Macri’s Austerity Measures

Labor unions organized protest marches in Buenos Aires on May 1, disrupting public services and calling for an end to austerity.

Argentina
President Macri, seeking re-election in October, seems to have run out all options to control the spiraling inflation.

Anti-government protests are growing in Argentina, further eroding the popularity of President Mauricio Macri, who is seeking a second term in the general elections scheduled for October 27.

Several labor unions organized protest marches in the capital Buenos Aires on May 1, disrupting public services including transportation, banking, and education.

The protesters demanded an end to the austerity measures imposed in exchange for a US$56 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Scientists were among the protesters, bemoaning the fact that young researchers are losing opportunities in the wake of reduced R&D investment.

Argentines are angry with the government over their loss of purchasing power amid high inflation, soaring consumer prices and a tumbling currency.

As a result, unemployment and poverty rates are rising, with media reports saying one in four Argentines are living on less than four US dollars a day.

The opposition parties have also criticized the government’s decision to cut public utility subsidies, which they say is pushing up inflation.

President Macri recently imposed price controls on more than 60 products and vowed not to increase the price of public services such as transport, gas and electricity, for the rest of the year.

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A recent opinion poll by Isonomía put Macri nine points below his rival and former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who has 45% of voters’ preference compared with Macri’s 36%.

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