Chastened Argentine leader offers help for workers, the poor

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Chastened Argentine leader offers help for workers, the poor
Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who is running for reelection, pauses during a press conference at the government house the day after primary elections in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. Macri was snubbed by voters who appeared to hand a resounding primary victory to a populist ticket with his predecessor, Cristina Fernández. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A walloping at the polls has led President Mauricio Macri to decree economic relief for poor and working-class Argentines. The measures include an increased minimum wage, reduced payroll taxes, a bonus for informal workers and a freeze in gasoline prices — at least temporarily.

The conservative leader said Wednesday he’s acting in recognition of the “anger” Argentines expressed in Sunday’s primary election, when Macri trailed his leftist rivals by 15 percentage points. The general election is in October.

In his words, “I’ve heard what you wanted to tell me on Sunday.”

The fuel freeze will last 90 days. Other measures will extend for several months.

Investors frightened by leftist gains sent Argentina’s stocks, bonds and currency tumbling.

The currency continued to slip after Wednesday’s announcement.