Conservative opposition candidate Mauricio Macri comfortably won Argentina's presidential election, November 22, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Following the loss of staunch supporter Stephen Harper last month in the Canadian elections, and the election victory earlier this month of Turkey’s anti-Israel President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Israel finally got some good electoral news overseas with the victory in Argentina Sunday of Mauricio Macri.
The conservative Macri won a runoff in the presidential balloting on Sunday, ending 12 years of leftist rule in the country dominated by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and her late husband, Néstor Kirchner. Macri defeated Kirchner’s candidate, Daniel Scioli.
Jerusalem barely hid its satisfaction, as the eight years under Cristina Kirchner has seen a sharp deterioration of ties, especially since January 2013 when Argentina signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iran that included a “truth commission” to jointly investigate bombings against Israeli and Jewish targets in Argentina’s capital in the early 1990s – which left 114 people killed and more than 500 wounded.
According to one diplomatic source in Jerusalem, the victory of Macri, currently the mayor of Buenos Aires, “is unequivocally good for Israel and the Jews.” The Jewish population in Argentina is estimated at between 200,000 to 250,000.
While the reign of Nestor Kirchner was “not bad,” the official said, Cristina’s eight years in office were bad for the ties between the two countries.
“She has a very third world approach, and was connected to [former Venezuelan strongman Hugo] Chavez,” he said.
By signing the MoU with Iran in 2013, Kirchner essentially “let the criminal investigate the crime,” and from that point in time the ties between the two countries “really deteriorated,” the source continued.
The source said he expected the change in the tone of the ties to be felt swiftly, with Macri vowing during his campaign, and also during a visit to Israel last year, to annul the MoU with Iran if elected. Macri met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during that visit, and said he would like to see a “strategic alliance” between the two countries.
The source said that the elections will also halt inroads that Iran was making in Latin America, and could signal a change for the better for Israel in that part of the world. Macri’s victory followed by three weeks the victory in the presidential race in Guatemala of another candidate considered friendly to Israel: Jimmy Morales.
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