Argentina votes mid-term amid pressure on President Fernandez | Election news


Almost half of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and a third of the Senate are up for grabs.

President Alberto Fernandez faces a nervous 24 hours as Argentines go to the polls for mid-term parliamentary elections that could see his party lose a majority in the Senate.

Nearly half of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies are up for grabs in Sunday’s elections, as well as a third of the seats in the Senate in a mandatory vote for 34.3 million people.

Polls will open at 8 (11:00 GMT) and close at 18:00 (21:00 GMT) on Sunday, with the first results expected approximately three hours later.

Fernandez’s Frente de Todos (Front of All) party is already a minority in the lower house and analysts believe it risks losing a majority in the Senate.

In September, Frente de Todos suffered an abrupt defeat in the primary, garnering just 33 percent of the vote compared to the 37 percent opposition group Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) of Fernandez’s predecessor Mauricio Macri.

“If the results of the PASO (September primary) are repeated, the ruling party could lose a majority in the Senate,” political analyst Rosendo Fraga of the think tank New Majority told AFP news agency.

Recession, pandemic and damage control

Fernandez’s government has been hit hard by growing public discontent.

The country has been in a recession since 2018, with GDP down 9.9% last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Argentina has one of the highest inflation rates in the world, at 40 percent so far this year, and a poverty rate of 42 percent for a population of 45 million.

The primary setback sparked a political crisis that pitted Fernandez against his vice president and coalition partner Cristina Kirchner, who lobbied his boss for a government reshuffle in hopes it would help appease an increasingly frustrated electorate. .

If Frente de Todos loses a majority in the Senate, the opposition “most likely will use” its legislative blocking power, analyst Gabriel Puricelli of the University of Buenos Aires told AFP.

The party would therefore be forced to negotiate and make concessions if it wants to pass laws or make key appointments, even to the judiciary.

The government has been in damage limitation mode since the primary, announcing a deal with retailers last month to freeze prices on more than 1,200 basic necessities after protesters took to the streets to rally against food insecurity. unemployment and lack of resources. It also raised the floor cap in September.

The government rallied its supporters after months of blocking the pandemic that kept them under wraps.

Pro-government unions and social organizations have said they will march in support of Fernandez on Wednesday, regardless of Sunday’s results.

Many eyes will be on the province of Buenos Aires, a traditional bastion of the Peronists including Fernandez’s party, but where Macri’s Juntos made great strides in September.

There is a potential spoiler on the pitch in the form of the provocative Javier Milei – an ultra-liberal anti-establishment economist who is pushing for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies for the city of Buenos Aires.

Milei has the center-right opposition and the center-left government, both criticized and worried by him.

His rise has drawn parallels with successful populists like Donald Trump in the United States or Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Milei has managed to attract support from all walks of life, although some analysts point out that most tend to be men between the ages of 18 and 40.

However, it caught Macri’s attention.

“The ideas that Milei espoused, I have always expressed them,” the former president said recently.


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