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Mauricio Macri wins Argentina presidential election

Mauricio Macri

Opposition candidate Mauricio Macri has won Argentina’s presidential election, marking an end to the left-leaning and often combative era of President Cristina Fernandez, who along with her late husband dominated the country’s political scene for 12 years and rewrote its social contract.

Ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli, Ms. Fernandez’s chosen successor, conceded and said he had called Mr. Macri to congratulate him on a victory that promises to chart Argentina on a more free market, less state interventionist course.

With 75 per cent of the vote counted, Mr. Macri had 53 per cent support compared to 47 per cent for Mr. Scioli.The victory by the business-friendly Mr. Macri comes after he did better than expected in the first round on October 25, forcing a runoff with Mr. Scioli, the governor of the vast Buenos Aires province. Mr. Macri campaigned on promises to reform and jumpstart the South American country’s sagging economy. He pledged to lead by “listening more and speaking less” than Ms. Fernandez, something he frequently said on the campaign trail.

Mr. Macri’s win signals a clear end to the era of Ms. Fernandez, who along with her late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, rewrote the country’s social contract, gaining both rabid followers and fierce critics along the way. People often refer to their combined years in power as the “Kirchner era.” The power couple spent heavily on programmes for the poor, raised tariffs to protect local economies and passed several progressive laws, including the legalisation of gay marriage in 2010.