“On Wednesday, I'm inviting you to celebrate this great triumph by filling the Plaza de Mayo with militants,” Argentine president Alberto Fernandez announced calling the trade unions and the organizations of picketers in support of Sunday's midterm election “great win”. Likewise one of his most loquacious candidates Victoria Tolosa Paz argued, actually “losing we are winning, and those winning are losing”.
The reality on the other hand showed that the ruling Peronist coalition which has Alberto Fernandez as president but power rests in his vice-president Cristina Kirchner, faced one of its greatest defeats since the return of democracy to Argentina in 1983. In effect since the Kirchnerites took office in 2019 for the fourth time, they have lost almost six million votes, while the opposition coalition garnered 9.7 million votes on Sunday in what they have described as their best victory since they first appeared in the Argentine political scenario.
Of the 24 Argentine provinces, the opposition coalition beat the Kirchnerite administration and allies in fifteen, including the country's five main electoral circumscriptions, Cordoba, Mendoza, Santa Fe, City of Buenos Aires and the province of Buenos Aires, the bastion of Peronist and Kirchnerite power, and they even lost control of Peronist provinces such as San Luis, Corrientes, Chubut, La Pampa (once named after General Juan Domingo Peron) and the Kirchner's turf Santa Cruz in Patagonia, ruled by the sister of Nestor Kirchner, Alicia. In several other provinces, the ruling coalition and its allies barely managed to keep control of their territories. Overall the opposition coalition was supported by 42,3% of ballots, while the Peronist/Kirchner ruling coalition, 34%
Of the 24 Argentine provinces, the opposition coalition beat the Kirchnerite administration and allies in fifteen, including the country's five main electoral circumscriptions. https://t.co/OgDEHkkLuq pic.twitter.com/JJxmwW2PiZ— MercoPress (@MercoPressNews) November 16, 2021
In Congress, the two coalitions now have the same number of Deputies 117, and in the Senate, for the first time since 1983, the Peronists lost the necessary quorum initiative, after having lost in six of eight districts, which renewed upper house benches. In the midterm elections in Argentina, held every two years, half of the Lower House is renewed, and a third of the Senate. The Senate has three members per province (72) and their mandate is six years.
In other words, any future legislation will necessarily undergo a long negotiating process in the new Congress and president Fernandez invitation to hold talks on the future of Argentina will be an uphill road since his arrogant style of blaming all the evils and misfortunes of his administration on the opposition coalition will need an exhausting effort and apologies. Besides Fernandez has been informed that any negotiations will have to take place in Congress
Furthermore, the opposition coalition has stated that in good democratic manners losers admit defeat and congratulate winners, but this time the ruling coalition, which suffered a major defeat is preparing for this great Wednesday ball. The truth is that the celebration responds to the fact that (honestly) Fernandez and his administration were preparing for an even major disaster following the prospects of the PASO primaries of August. So it can be described as a relief celebration.
Likewise, another interesting piece of information is that only 71% of registered voters did cast a ballot on Sunday, which is the lowest percentage since 2001 when the great meltdown of the Argentine economy and five presidents rotated in a week. This also means that a significant percentage of Argentine voters are quite fed up with politics, and on the sides of the two leading coalitions, new groupings have emerged and will have representation in Congress. They are the so-called Liberals, demanding an end to government intervention, no more money printing, the elimination of the central bank and drastic cuts of taxes and impediments to private initiative and entrepreneurship. At the other end the Trotskyite groups and their Marxist interpretation of economics and history. They have been elected for the first time since 2001. A new chapter of Argentine surrealism is about to begin.
And last but not least, as political analyst Rosendo Fraga anticipated, any new chapter of common sense politics will demand strong leadership from both coalitions, which is another barrier since the classic Peronists are increasingly disenchanted with Cristina Kirchner's decisions, and in the opposition coalition, with victory, a new generation of 2023 hopefuls has sprouted.
Quiero felicitar al pueblo argentino por su participación pacífica en el marco de la democracia. Cada vez que el pueblo habla, la democracia nos hace más fuertes.— Alberto Fernández (@alferdez) November 15, 2021
Hoy empieza la segunda parte de nuestro Gobierno y sé bien que los argentinos y argentinas necesitamos un horizonte. pic.twitter.com/Wnvg3tJvM1