With more than 80% of the votes counted, the Argentine primaries for the mid-term legislative election point to an advantage of opposition pre-candidates.
The centre-right Juntos coalition, led by former president Mauricio Macri, has won 40.51% of the votes so far, while the government alliance, Frente de Todos, has won 30.72%.
The main differences occurred in the province of Buenos Aires, the main focus of the election, as it concentrates most of the country’s electorate (38%). The Peronist candidate, María Tolosa Paz (33.5%), got more votes than her rivals, Diego Santilli (22.76%) and Facundo Manes (15.55%). Both, however, will be part of the same list in the November 14 election and, together, may surpass the Peronist.
In the early evening, Tolosa Paz and his advisors celebrated by jumping and dancing. She was later criticized as the government did not do well at the national level. The candidate, who held the position of head of the Federal Council for Social Policies, directly linked to the Executive, and only resigned from her post to run for election, is fully trusted by President Alberto Fernández.
In front of Peronist supporters, Fernández acknowledged the poor results. “We need to listen to the population, and the population today did not follow us through the ballot boxes as we expected. It means that what we did was not enough.” The Argentine leader stressed that the primaries “are not the final election, so there is time to regain the confidence of all Argentines”. “I believe in an Argentina with more social justice and more public health, and that’s where we’re going to put our efforts.”
In the city of Buenos Aires, the difference was great in favor of the opposition. Also according to preliminary results, the Juntos alliance obtained 48.28% of the votes, with Maria Eugênia Vidal at the front, against 24.62% for the Peronist Leandro Santoro. The capital has been governed by macrismo since 2007, first by Macri himself, in two terms, and now by Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, who has clear presidential ambitions.
Vidal celebrated the result this Sunday. “Today we took a step to start changing Argentina, for an Argentina of truth and without the lies that the government tells,” he said.
The libertarians, an ultra-rightist force that emerged in recent years, performed well, led by economist Javier Milei. With 13.64%, he qualified for the November vote with a chance of putting the Avanza Libertad party in Congress for the first time.
Milei said he was open to alliances, but declined to join the social-democrat group because “they are equal to the communists”. According to him, the number of votes he received is not surprising, because “young people are on our side, we are seeing their rebellion and their desire to change things,” he said.
Participation was over 70%, a low figure by Argentine standards. The interior minister, Wado de Pedro, said to journalists that he considered the index to be good “due to the pandemic”. There were delays and queues throughout the day at polling stations, so that the sanitary protocol could be respected.
In Argentina, political parties unite in coalitions for disputes. The government alliance, for example, is formed by parties and currents of Peronism. There are traditional and moderate Peronists, such as President Fernández, those more to the right, such as the current head of the Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Massa, and the current more to the left, led by Cristina Kirchner.
Recently, due to the stumbling blocks of Fernández, investigated because of a party held at his house at a time when the population was facing severe sanitary restrictions, thus failing to comply with a presidential decree, the Kirchnerista wing began to attack the president. Thus, Cristina returned to appear in acts and rallies to try to restore harmony within the coalition.
The president commented on Sunday the episode for which he is being investigated. “We made mistakes and we know you guys were upset. It won’t happen again.”