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Landslide victory for the opposition in Argentina: Macri's reelection undermined; challenging Monday for markets

Monday, August 12th 2019 - 05:55 UTC
Full article 9 comments
Alberto Fernandez during his victory speech Alberto Fernandez during his victory speech
Maximo Kirchner leads the celebrations Maximo Kirchner leads the celebrations
President Macri admitted defeat and promised to continue competing in October President Macri admitted defeat and promised to continue competing in October

President Mauricio Macri suffered a crushing defeat as Argentines voted in party primaries on Sunday ahead of October's general election. Given that all of the recession-hit country's major parties have already chosen their presidential candidates, the primaries effectively served as a nationwide pre-election opinion poll.

Center-left nominee Alberto Fernandez led by around 15 percentage points after 87% results were revealed as center-right, pro-business Macri admitted it had been “a bad election.”

The first round of the presidential election will be held on October 27, with a run-off -- if needed -- set for November 24.

With 87% of polling station results counted, Fernandez had polled 47.5% with Macri on a little more than 32% and centrist former finance minister Roberto Lavagna a distant third on just 8.3%.

“For those who didn't vote for me, I promise to work hard so they understand me,” said Fernandez to thousands of cheering supporters in Buenos Aires. “A new Argentina is being born, this means the end of revenge and the gap”, he added in reference to great divide in the Argentine society.

“We're going to begin a new stage. We always fix the problems that others create.”

Macri had been hoping to earn a second mandate, but his chances appear all but over.

If Fernandez was to register the same result in October, he would be president as Argentina's electoral law requires a candidate to gain 45% for outright victory, or 40% and a lead of at least 10 points over the nearest challenger.

Political analysts had anticipated that “it would be very difficult to claw back a difference of five points due to polarization: there's no scope to claim votes.” Macri faces the unenviable prospect of having to somehow find three times as many.

“We've had a bad election and that forces us to redouble our efforts from tomorrow,” said Macri, whose popularity has plunged since last year's currency crisis and the much-criticized US$ 56 billion bail-out loan he secured from the International Monetary Fund.

“It hurts that we haven't had the support we'd hoped for,” he added.

However things will not necessarily be smooth in the winning side, since Alberto Fernandez was nominated as presidential candidate by his vice president, corruption tainted ex president Cristina Fernandez, who has an electoral base of almost 30%.

This means that Alberto Fernandez to a great extent is conditioned to her vice president, and son Maximo Kirchner who led the victory celebrations. Besides the fact that most of the future lawmakers to be elected next October belong to the grouping head by Maximo Kirchner.

Around three-quarters of Argentina's 34 million eligible voters turned out for what was an obligatory vote, Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio said.

Argentina is currently in a recession and posted 22% inflation for the first half of the year -- one of the highest rates in the world. Poverty now affects 32% of the population.

Backed by the IMF, Macri has initiated an austerity plan that is deeply unpopular among ordinary Argentines, who have seen their spending power plummet. The peso lost half of its value against the dollar last year.

The Buenos Aires stock exchange actually shot up 8% on Friday amid expectation that Macri would do well in Sunday's vote.

The markets have little faith in Alberto Fernandez, who is widely seen as dependent on Cristina Kirchner, but that made scant difference to voters.

This means that Monday could turn into a hectic trading day for Argentina, particularly regarding the US dollar, which traditionally has been the refuge of Argentines mistrustful of their currency and politicians.

Finally and again as happened in neighboring Uruguay primary votes, public opinion polls failed miserably: not one anticipated such a landslide for the opposition.

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • Tarquin Fin

    We were screwed already. This black Monday would have happened sooner or later. Don't cry for us. 47% of voters have stated what they want. Good or bad depending on perspective. No fate but what we make.

    It is funny how our media has flip flopped during the last hours. The People of this land has spoken and that caused my favorite beer to go up 12 pesos.

    Seriously, a polar wave is entering the city and I have seen many people on the streets with nothing to eat and rags as cover.

    If all we need to solve that is a brave new government, then of course, I just hope that they do.

    The rest is foam. Just like my favorite beer going up a notch.

    Aug 12th, 2019 - 08:50 pm +2
  • Chicureo

    The Argentine peso will suffer as the market is spiraling downward. Argentina was doomed over 40 years ago. Macri is doomed as well.

    Aug 12th, 2019 - 05:23 pm +1
  • Think

    Shicureo..., me dear hermanito milico Shileno...

    You say above..:
    ***“Argentina was doomed over 40 years ago.”***

    I say...:
    Seems that you..., finally.., decided to read some real Argie history...!

    indeed..., about forty (40) years ago..., in 1979..., your Argentinean milico “Brothers in Arms” were in complete control of Argentina's destiny...

    Many a chivalrous Argie Army and Naval officer at the time..., put to good use the electronic skills acquired during their military academies education here and in the USA.., by connecting electric prods to diverse forms of erotic toys to have some shared fun with our captured girls...

    When the fun was over.., a polite Argie Air Force officer would offer them a one way fly-ride to their final destination..., not without first slashing their abdomens open to insure they sank swiftly...

    Between all that hard Social Reorganization of Argentina work..., those gallant military individuals decided to appoint civilian Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz..., (the virtual Alma Mater and inspirator of current Argentinean president Maurizio Macri's economics)..., to oversee the Economic Reorganization of Argentina....

    Last but not least..., many of those refined Argie exponents of the “Homo Militaris” race frenetically shemed to take their civilization over to that thin..., long Country west of us squeezed between the mighty Andes and the immense Pacific....

    Yessssssss..., you can say it again..., hermanito..., Argentina was doomed over forty (40) years ago...
    A freaking hard curse to come out from..., even after forty (40) years

    Aug 13th, 2019 - 06:47 am +1
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