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Viewing cable 06BUENOSAIRES2215, LEADING CENTER-RIGHT ARGENTINE OPPOSITION LEADER MAURICIO MACRI ON KIRCHNER AND THE 2007 ELECTIONS REF: BUENOS AIRES 01901 Classified By: CDA, a.i., Michael Matera, Reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BUENOSAIRES2215 2006-09-28 21:09 2011-02-21 05:05 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Buenos Aires
VZCZCXRO3958
PP RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHQU RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHBU #2215/01 2712113
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 282113Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6074
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCNMRC/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 1734
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUENOS AIRES 002215SIPDIS SIPDIS STATE FOR WHA TOM SHANNON, JOHN MAISTO, AND CHARLES SHAPIRO NSC FOR DAN FISK TREASURY FOR DAS NANCY LEE USCINCSO FOR POLAD E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/27/2016 TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL AR

SUBJECT: LEADING CENTER-RIGHT ARGENTINE OPPOSITION LEADER MAURICIO MACRI ON KIRCHNER AND THE 2007 ELECTIONS REF: BUENOS AIRES 01901 Classified By: CDA, a.i., Michael Matera, Reasons 1.4(b) and (d) 

1.  (C) SUMMARY: On September 26, Charge and Poloff met with leading center-right political leader Mauricio Macri and 
longtime Macri associate and local businessman, Nicolas 
Caputo.  Macri voiced his criticisms of President Nestor 
Kirchner's policies and spoke at length about next year's 
national elections.  Despite his strong criticisms of 
Kirchner, Macri noted that the GOA's fiscal discipline was a 
positive change compared to past governments, and he admitted 
that the projected continued strength of the economy over the 
next year meant that Kirchner would likely win reelection. 
Although Macri felt it would be difficult to beat Kirchner in 
2007, he was optimistic about the long-term prospects of his 
Republican Proposal (PRO) political alliance.  Macri said he 
was still undecided on which office he would run for in the 
2007 elections.  Although he did not rule out an eventual 
alliance with former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna, he 
felt that he and Lavagna had little in common.  END SUMMARY. 
 2.  (C) On September 26, Charge and Poloff met with leading 
center-right political leader Mauricio Macri and longtime 
Macri associate and local businessman, Nicolas Caputo.  Macri 
spoke at length about his views of President Nestor Kirchner 
and next year's national elections.  Macri was critical of 
Kirchner's policies, particularly in the foreign and economic 
policy areas.  "Argentina is not getting the investment it 
needs, especially in the energy sector.  Kirchner thinks he 
can go to New York, ring the bell at the Stock Exchange, and 
tell investors 'we didn't fulfill our promises before, but 
now you can trust us.'  It will take a lot harder work than 
that to bring investors back to Argentina.  Kirchner is 
constantly creating conflicts abroad, with our regional 
neighbors, at Mar del Plata, but the Argentine people do not 
realize how damaging this is because the government is very 
good at controlling the media." 3.  (C) Despite his strong criticisms of Kirchner, Macri noted that the GOA's fiscal discipline was a positive change compared to past governments, and he admitted that the 
projected continued strength of the economy over the next 
year meant that Kirchner would likely win reelection. 
"Kirchner understands that money equals political power, so 
he has put an emphasis on maintaining a surplus.   For the 
first time in recent memory, Argentina doesn't have to worry 
about being able to pay its bills."  Macri noted that 
although surprises were always possible, particularly with 
the crime issue, he did not foresee Kirchner having 
difficulty wining reelection in 2007. 4.  (C) Although Macri felt it would be difficult to beat Kirchner in 2007, he was optimistic about the long-term prospects of his Republican Proposal (PRO) political 
alliance.  He predicted that the economy would start to 
decline in 2008.  Macri said PRO was working to prepare its 
leaders to assume office in 2011.  "We are the first truly 
pro-market, pro-business political force in nearly 80 years 
of Argentine history that is ready to assume power."  Macri 
said that his foundation, Fundacion Creer y Crecer (Belief 
and Growth Foundation), is working with the German Konrad 
Adenhauer Foundation and the U.S. International Republican 
Institute in a leadership development program.  Nicolas 
Caputo said that many in the Foundation were getting 
restless, noting that the short-term focus of Argentine 
politics made it difficult to convince the Foundation staff 
to work for the long-term when Macri's plans for 2007 were 
still undefined. 5.  (C) Macri said his plans for 2007 were still undecided, and although he did not rule out an eventual alliance with 
former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna, he felt that he and 
Lavagna had little in common.  Macri said he would not define 
his electoral plans until at least the end of the year, 
noting that Kirchner himself has not yet announced his BUENOS AIR 00002215  002 OF 002  candidacy.  Macri said that his supporters are sharply divided between those who want him to compete again to be 
Mayor of Buenos Aires and those who want him to run for 
President.  Macri said that both options presented risks. 
Macri would face a difficult race in the city against 
potential Kirchner candidates like Vice President Daniel 
Scioli and current Mayor Jorge Telerman.  Macri would almost 
certainly lose a presidential race to Kirchner, but a good 
second place showing, Macri argued, could provide a political 
base for the future.  Asked about an alliance with Lavagna, 
Macri quoted his PRO ally Ricardo Lopez Murphy, "Lavagna is a 
better mannered, more tolerant Kirchner.  I do not see much 
difference between him and Kirchner.  Moreover, I do not 
think we have much in common with those that are around 
Lavagna, like (former Presidents) Alfonsin and Duhalde." 
However, he said that he did not discard the possibility of 
an eventual accord between him and Lavagna.  Asked about 
Lopez Murphy, Macri said his alliance with him was strong, 
but noted that Lopez Murphy can sometimes be "rigid" in his 
thinking, which made discussions on potential political 
alliances difficult. 6.  (C) COMMENT: Mauricio Macri is currently the leading center-right opposition leader in Argentina.  He is one of 
the only opposition leaders who can compete toe-to-toe with 
Kirchner's potential candidates in a key electoral district, 
or make a potentially strong second place showing in a 
presidential contest with Kirchner himself.  Macri is young 
enough and has sufficient personal resources to enable him to 
compete for the long term.  As 2007 is likely to be a 
difficult year for the opposition in Argentina, opposition 
leaders will need to have this type of long-term vision to 
build for the future.  END COMMENT. MATERA