- Documents on Democracy
In the November 22 presidential runoff, former Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri, a candidate backed by a coalition of non-Peronist opposition parties, won by a narrow margin. His victory put an end to the “Kirchnerismo” era, a period of twelve years during which the presidency was held by the late Néstor Kirchner and then by his wife and successor in office, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Below are excerpts from Macri’s December 10 inaugural address:
The country has sectors that think in different ways, but it is not divided. Citizens voted as they wanted to. Some supported our vision and others supported other candidates. That makes us happy because they could choose in freedom. But the elections have passed. The moment has arrived in which we should all unite to grow and improve so that our country advances.
The majority of Argentines who voted for our program did so based on three central ideas. They are: zero poverty, defeat drug trafficking, and unite Argentineans. . . .
We may think differently but the law must be respected. It is one thing to have different visions, ideas, and programs; it is another to overwhelm institutions with personalistic projects or to use power for one’s own personal gain. Here there is no question of diverse views: it is a question of the transgression of the law. Authoritarianism is not a distinct idea; it is the attempt to limit the freedom of ideas and of people.
My government will know how to defend that freedom which is essential for democracy. We aspire to a healthier nationalism, one that is not achieved on the basis of rancor, enmity, permanent struggle, or demonization of the other. True love of country is before all else love and respect for its people, all of its people. The homeland is more than its symbols. It is the people who live in it, the ones who must be cared for, helped, and developed.
I would like to place special emphasis on another basic goal of the [End Page 181] period that begins today. This government will fight corruption. Public goods belong to all citizens, and it is unacceptable for officials to appropriate them for their own personal benefit. I will be uncompromising with those of any political party or political affiliation, be it my own or another, who fail to comply with the law. There will be no tolerance for such abusive practices. There is no ideological principle that can justify them. The goods of Argentina are for all Argentineans and not for misuse by officials. . . .
I would like to take an opportunity during this inaugural message to also express my full support for the independent judiciary. In recent years it was a bastion of democracy and prevented the country from falling into an irreversible authoritarianism. In our government there will be no “Macrista” judges. There is no justice or democracy without independent justice, but justice must be accompanied by a process that is cleansed of political vices. There cannot be militant justices of any political party. To those who want to be such, we clearly say: They are not welcome even if they want to serve as our own instruments. Justice exists to help people resolve their conflicts with the proper application of the law, and it must do so quickly. Justice delayed is no justice. We will have to give the task of justice sufficient resources so that its processes come up to the level of the reality that we live, and of the new demands of an Argentina that is taking off.
In the January 16 presidential election, opposition candidate Tsai Ing-Wen of the Democratic Progressive Party won a landmark victory over Eric Chu, the ruling Nationalist Party candidate, becoming Taiwan’s first female president. Tsai’s campaign emphasized issues of relations with the People’s Republic of China, the economic slowdown, government accountability, and social justice. Excerpts from Tsai’s remarks to the media following the announcement of the official election results appear below:
Today, the Taiwanese people have used their ballots to make history. We have now experienced the third transition of political power. For the first...