Center-left opponent Alberto Fernández made an overwhelming difference over neoliberal president Mauricio Macri on Sunday in Argentina’s presidential primaries, according to the official count, which would leave the current president with no chances for the October elections.
With 86.8% of the tables scrutinized, the Front of All of Fernández obtained 47.4% of the votes, against 32.3% of Together for Change, the Macri coalition.
The primaries are considered a precise survey of what could happen in the general elections of October in Argentina, where an economic crisis hit the image of Macri in the last year and revitalized Peronism in the opposition.
“This is something no one expected,” Macri said at a press conference on Sunday night.
The result could have a strong negative impact on Monday in the markets, which have Macri as their favorite candidate and fear that Fernandez may turn towards greater state intervention.
The peso plunged 5.1% to 48.5 per dollar on Sunday at the platform of brokerage firm Balanz, which operates the currency online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We were comfortable to go out first” in the October general elections, Fernández told reporters about the outcome of the primaries, when he arrived at the bunker where he waited for the official vote count.
In the key province of Buenos Aires, where about 37% of the country’s voters are located, the candidate for the governance of the Frente de Todos, Axel Kicillof, obtained 49.3% of the votes, compared to 32.8% of the current governor, María Eugenia Vidal, who was considered the best electoral card of the ruling party.
The rise in inflation, unemployment and poverty are the Achilles heel of Macri – and its center-right alliance Together for Change – which would hardly have a chance to win in October if many voters did not see it as a driver of transparency and public works.
Until months a political operator, Fernández was tempted by ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner – of whom he was head of the Cabinet – to lead the opposition presidential formula. Fernández is a moderate politician who has managed to unite much of Peronism within the Frente de Todos coalition.
While the current president proposes to move forward with the opening of the economy and the adjustment of the State, Fernández is prone to greater state intervention to boost the domestic market and grow the activity, currently paralyzed.
Most of the parties have already defined their main candidates before the primaries, who will compete for the presidency in the general elections of October 27, which will be settled in a ballot-November 24 – if none of the candidates gets more 45 percent of the vote or 40 percent and a difference of 10 percentage points over the second.
In addition to the president, in the October elections the Argentines will elect deputies, senators, governors and local leaders.