Argentina formalized on Thursday the call for this year's primary and legislative elections which will be held on 11 August and 27 October respectively and will see Argentines aged 16 vote for the first time.
The decree published in the Official Gazette and signed by president Cristina Fernández, Cabinet Chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina and Interior and Transport Minister Florencio Randazzo reminded that according to an existing electoral law, ”Open, Simultanous and Compulsary Primary elections (PASO) will take place on the second Sunday of August of the same year national elections are scheduled”.
On the other hand, the National Electoral Code determines national elections will take place on the fourth Sunday of the month of October before the term of office ends.
Next October half the lower House and a third of the Senate will be renewed. Based on legislation sponsored by the government of Cristina Fernandez and approved last October the minimum voting age has been dropped from 18 to 16.
This has meant the numerical incorporation of 1.4 million young voters which could see the Electoral role climb to 30 million out of a population of just over 40 million.
However only those with their renewed ID will be able to vote next August and October.
Currently the government of Cristina Fernandez holds a majority in the Lower House and the Senate in alliance with small provincial parties, highly dependent on credit and investment from the central government.
The government pretends to hold on to that majority either to promote an amendment of the constitution that could open the way for Cristina Fernandez to bid for a second consecutive re-election, currently barred, or to ensure that her administration does not become a lame duck.
Recent Argentine history is evidence that when this happens, (lack of sufficient Legislative support) the outgoing government collapses or resigns before the end of its mandate.