Argentina’s Sunday primary was the worst election result for Kirchnerism since they first arrived to office in 2003, almost thirty percentage points below the 54% of Cristina Fernandez re-election in 2011 writes Rosendo Fraga, Argentine historian and political analyst.
“There’s no way the government can look back and appeal to the 54% of 2011, with three out of four votes on Sunday’s PASO primary (open, simultaneous and mandatory) going to the opposition”, adds Fraga.
Looking back into recent Argentine history since the return of democracy, Fraga recalls that in 1987, when the mid term elections, then President Raul Alfonsin was defeated with 38% of the vote while the alternative Peronists obtained 43%.
Ten years late, when Peronism was in office with President Carlos Menem, he lost the legislative mid term election. The opposition Alliance managed 45% and the Peronists 36%. Two years later Fernando de la Rúa with the Alliance support became president.
Four years ago in 2009, Kirchnerism lost the mid term election in the province of Buenos Aires by two percentage points and nationally garnered 31% of the vote.
Fraga underlines that on Sunday’s primary even with a much divided opposition, three out of four votes did not support Cristina Fernandez and her development model, and in the crucial Buenos Aires province, which decides any national election, the mayor of Tigre Sergio Massa was a clear winner and ready to dispute her leadership.
In the City of Buenos Aires the Victory Front of President Cristina Fernandez was relegated to a third position. Something similar happened in the other main electoral districts, Santa Fe, Cordoba and in Mendoza, where former Vice-president Julio Cobos made a spectacular comeback and obtained a greater majority than expected.
Likewise great surprises and defeats for the Victory Front were experienced in what until Sunday were considered ‘safe havens’ such as the provinces of Chubut, San Juan, La Rioja, Jujuy. These defeats added to those expected in Santa Cruz, the province that launched the Kirchners, and Catamarca, Corrientes and San Luis. The Victory Front lost almost twenty percentage points in Formosa and Tucuman.
Finally the government needs to take notice of Sunday’s results and modify its policies that no longer have the support of the people, while the opposition must articulate a political alternative which drives and stimulates the three quarters of Argentines that followed them and would like to repeat next October when the mid term event that will see the renewal of half the Lower House and one third of the Senate, concludes Fraga.