Don't break with democracy, Pope urges Argentina


Pope Francis is pleading with the people of his native Argentinia to work together to preserve peace and democracy ahead of elections.

Argentines across the political spectrum should work to maintain stability ahead of October's presidential election, Pope Francis said in an interview published on Sunday by La Nacion, one of the South American country's top newspapers.

Two-term President Cristina Fernandez's government is heading into its final year with public discontent rising over heavy-handed currency controls and 40 percent inflation that have hobbled Latin America's third biggest economy.

As Argentina heads into a steamy Southern Hemisphere summer, there is fear of a repeat of the violent protests over electricity shortages that shook Buenos Aires a year earlier.

"Argentina needs to get to the end of this administration in peace. Breaking with the democratic, constitutional system at this moment would be a mistake. Everybody should work together in this and then elect a new government," Francis said in what the paper called his first interview with Latin American media.

Inflation of more than 300 percent helped set the stage for a coup in 1976 that ushered in seven years of military dictatorship in Argentina.

To avoid the appearance of partisanship, Pope Francis, who is Argentine, said he would hold no more private meetings with Argentine politicians until after the October 2015 election. The interview was accompanied by pictures of the pope in one-on-one meetings with Fernandez and several possible opposition candidates.

He also told La Nation he plans his first trip to Argentina as pope in 2016.

Source: Reuters