Argentina goes to the polls with the ‘Peronist’ Alberto Fern á ndez as favorite

The presidential candidate Alberto Fernández in Mar del Plata (Argentina) – REUTERS / AGUSTIN MARCARIAN

Fernández de Kirchner could return to the Casa Rosada, this time as vice president


Argentina, plunged into a serious economic crisis, decides this Sunday if it gives continuity to the Government of businessman Mauricio Macri or returns to 'Peronism' by the hand of lawyer Alberto Fernández.

Argentina goes to the polls with the ‘Peronist’ Alberto Fern á ndez as favorite
Argentina goes to the polls with the ‘Peronist’ Alberto Fern á ndez as favorite

Some 33.8 million people have been called to the polls. The opposition candidate leads all voting intention polls, surpassing the current president by about 20 points, which could give him the victory in the first round.

In the Primary, Open, Simultaneous and Mandatory (STEP) elections held last August, Fernández, former Chief of Staff of Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007), had already outdone Macri by 16 points.

The Argentine law establishes that the winner of the elections will avoid a ballot if he receives more than 45% of the votes or if he reaches at least 40% of the votes by exceeding the result of his immediate rival by ten points.

Fernández knows that he has the victory at his fingertips and has even come to talk about the presidential transition.

The 'Peronist' candidate is seen as a moderate in the ranks of his party. “Ideologically pivots in the political center. It is characterized by the search for consensus,” said Mario Fraschini, a political scientist and professor at the University of Buenos Aires.


But many in Argentina do not focus on their figure, but on their candidate for vice president, former president Cristina Fernández Kirchner (2007-2015), who surprised a good part of the citizenship when she announced, in May, that she would not run for to lead the country again, but it would be the second on the list of the pragmatic lawyer.

The decision was striking, not only because Fernández de Kirchner parked his aspirations, but because the now candidate had resigned as chief of staff of the former Argentine leader in 2008, during the crisis generated by the government's decision to raise export taxes.

“Cristina's second term is very difficult for me to find a valuable element,” Fernández said in 2015.

Both leaders seem to have filed their differences, but many wonder in Argentina who will really govern, if Cristina, who continues to dominate important sectors of 'Peronism' or Fernandez.

The opposition candidate proposes to renegotiate the country's external debt, without exerting a take-off, but amending the maturity terms of the credits.

It also wants to expand social spending, increase salaries, reduce interest rates and move the country towards a trade surplus.


His rival at the polls, President Mauricio Macri, who has ruled since 2015, attends the election appointment plunged in popularity due to the economic difficulties that have arisen since April 2018.

The country's GDP will fall at least 3% this year and unemployment already exceeds 10%, in a country affected by an international reserves leak, accentuated after Fernandez's victory in the August primaries.

Macri came to power promising that his pro-market reforms would activate the Argentine economy and end the structural problems of the country's finances, which grew 2.7% in 2015.

One of its main premises was to end inflation. “It will not be a challenge,” he said before becoming president. However, inflation in 2015 was 25% and this year will exceed 50%.

He also promised to improve the situation of those with fewer resources, but in 2015 poverty affected 29.2% of the population and now afflicts 35% of citizens.

Macri also agreed to an unpopular line of credit with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) worth 57,000 million dollars.


The 'tariffs' in the services of light, water and electricity were also criticized, whose prices grew, in some cases, above 1500%, after the elimination of public subsidies.

But it still has support that is around 30% of the voters. Many of its voters believe that these price increases were necessary for the country to ease its spending portfolio and lay the foundations for a lasting improvement in the economy.

The bases that support the president also consider, for the most part, that the Government has managed to reduce corruption, in comparison with the previous mandate.

Macri bet to turn the polls around and stand in a second round in which he would continue to have a hard time winning Fernandez.

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