Except in times of war, few politicians have achieved great electoral success by telling voters to sacrifice living standards today for the sake of a better tomorrow. But in a surprising turn of events, voters in Argentina have just given an unexpected endorsement to this message, which has been the guiding logic behind the anti-populist policies of President Mauricio Macri.
On Sunday, Argentina held primary elections ahead of the Oct. 22 midterm legislative polls. It wasn’t supposed to be a very momentous event, but the results, as it happened, came loaded with significance. Voters didn’t just give a boost to Macri’s governing project. They also showed that Argentina—a country with a history of politics driven by personalities, emotions and short-termism—has developed a new level of political maturity.
After one-and-a-half years of Macri’s bitter economic medicine, and with former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on the ballot for a Senate seat, few expected Argentineans to give a hearty vote of confidence to Macri and his Cambiemos—or “Let’s Change”—coalition. But that is exactly what they did.