December 10, 2015 / 10:41 PM / in 3 years

Ecuador's Correa quips he nearly 'brings down' new Argentine leader

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Latin America’s left-wing leaders may expect a more complicated relationship with Argentina’s new, conservative president Mauricio Macri than with his predecessor, but none likely expected almost “bringing him down” on his first day in office.

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri (L) is greeted by Ecuador's President Rafael Correa in Buenos Aires, December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Martin Acosta

Ecuador’s socialist President Rafael Correa, who was a close ally of Argentina’s former leader, Cristina Fernandez, tripped on the red carpet at Macri’s inauguration on Thursday and had to grab on to him to avoid falling.

“I nearly brought down the government”, quipped Correa at a reception for foreign heads of state after Macri’s swearing-in, which ended 12 years of leftist populism in Argentina.

“Not so quickly,” Macri shot back, to the laughter of onlookers in the elegant San Martín Palace.

Correa and Bolivia’s leftist President Evo Morales, who was also closely allied with Fernandez, told reporters on Thursday they expected a constructive working relationship with Macri despite ideological differences.

Macri has promised to end the previous Peronist government’s interventionist policies and open up Latin America’s third largest economy to spur growth.

Reporting by Magali Cervantes and Nicolas Misculin; Writing by Sarah Marsh

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