For Mauricio Macri, just finishing his first term in office as Argentina’s President would be an achievement. No elected President who is not a Peronist, the country’s dominant political movement since the 1940s, has managed to last a full four years. But Macri, the center-right President elected in 2015, seems well on his way to breaking that record. His reformist Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition won a resounding victory in October’s midterm elections. Macri is bucking populist trends—maybe because the people of Argentina were ruled by populists for decades and are ready for someone who is a committed democrat, competent and not corrupt.
Macri is a political hybrid: pro-business but sensitive to popular concerns. New bus lanes have dramatically cut commute times. Inflation is high but coming down, economic growth is around 2.9% and projected to climb, and Argentina has returned to global credit markets after 15 years. At the same time, more reform is required to attract investment, expand trade, reduce subsidies and strengthen the rule of law. Still, Macri is off to a good start and shows no signs of having peaked.
Haass is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations