BUENOS AIRES – Conservative Mauricio Macri beat ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli in a runoff Sunday to become Argentina’s new president, bringing to an end a 12-year rule by President Cristina Kirchner and her late husband.
“Today is a historic day, it’s the change of an era that’s going to be marvelous,” Macri, flanked by wife Juliana Awada and their four-year old daughter Antonia, told thousands of supporters at a convention center in Buenos Aires, the city he governed for eight years.
Macri, of the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) party, won 51.72 percent of the 96.40 percent votes counted, while Scioli, of the ruling Front for Victory, secured 48.28 percent.
Macri, 56, an engineer who took the leap from running his family business to the world of soccer and then into politics, had promised “zero poverty,” weeding out drug trafficking, improving the quality of democracy and building good relations with other countries, especially within Latin America.
“I have done my best,” said Scioli, the outgoing governor of Buenos Aires province, who had won the first round of voting held Oct. 25 with 37 percent of the votes, below poll expectations and barely 3 percent more than Macri.
“The dynamics of the second round has opted for the alternate. It is our democracy, we have to make it mature every day and take care of it. Today we have given an exemplary demonstration of it to the world,” the 58-year-old added.
After admitting defeat, Scioli telephoned Macri to congratulate him.
Cristina Kirchner, who has not been on the best of terms with Macri since she became the president and Macri became mayor of Buenos Aires in 2007, also congratulated her successor.