Sunday, October 25, 2015
FpV Scioli comfortably wins election; Aníbal Fernández leads in BA province
Argentineans cast their votes to elect the successor of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Victory Front ruling party’s presidential candidate Daniel Scioli today jumped to an early lead in the presidential election after polls closed across the country. Scioli was followed by Let’s Change (Cambiemos) coalition led by Mauricio Macri, and in third place by UNA’s Sergio Massa.
According to electoral authorities, a more clear trend will be known at 11 pm.
In Buenos Aires province key electoral district, Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández was leading against María Eugenia Vidal from Let’s Change (Cambiemos).The National Electoral Court (CNE) reported that by 5.30 pm 73 percent of the electoral roll had voted.
The CNE informed as well that electoral authorities have called representatives of political parties to evaluate how the elections unfold. Sources in the National Electoral Committee, quoted by ámbito.com, said the elections were taking place with complete “normality.”
Six candidates are competing to become Argentineans’ next president with 32 million people entitled to decide the successor of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who will be leaving office on December 10 after two consecutive terms in power.
The results of the PASO primaries held on August 9 and the polls carried out prior to Sunday's elections forecast Daniel Scioli and Carlos Zannini of the Victory Front (FpV) would be the presidential ticket rallying more votes among the six candidates competing today – Mauricio Macri and Gabriela Michetti for Let’s Change coalition, Sergio Massa and Gustavo Saénz for the UNA alliance, Margarita Stolbizer and Miguel Angel Olaviaga for Progressives, Nicolás Del Caño and Myriam Bregman for the FIT front and Adolfo Rodríguez Saá and Liliana Negre de Alonso for Federal Commitment.
To win outright in the first round, and avoid a runoff election, a candidate requires 45 percent of valid votes or 40 percent and a 10-point lead over their nearest rival.
For the first time since 2003, voters will not be faced with a name reading Kirchner on the presidential ballots when they enter the voting booth. And even though there are six candidates running for president, all eyes will be on three: Victory Front (FpV) nominee Daniel Scioli, Let’s Change contender Mauricio Macri and A New Alternative (UNA) hopeful Sergio Massa.
Today, the three are competing with very different goals in mind.
Scioli is hoping to improve slightly on his performance from the August primaries, when he received 38.67 percent of the vote, to cross the 40-percent threshold. To win in the first round, a candidate must get at least 45 percent of the votes, or 40 percent and a 10 percent spread over the nearest competitor. If not, there will be a runoff between top two candidates on November 22.
That is exactly what Macri and Massa are hoping for today, betting they will receive enough support to push Scioli into a second round, optimistic that in a two-man race the anti-Kirchnerite vote will unite against the current Buenos Aires province governor.
The opposition candidates are making that strategy explicit. Macri, who has been running second in opinion polls, explicitly called on voters to think strategically when they cast their ballots today and vote for him because he has the best chance of reaching a runoff.
The son of a construction magnate, Macri has struggled to connect with average voters outside the capital, which has long been his electoral bastion.
Massa, meanwhile, has been insisting he is the one who has the best chance of beating Scioli in a runoff in part due to his Peronist roots. After he came in third place in the primaries, Massa ramped up his rhetoric and supporters say that his new attitude will bear fruit today.
Although Macri and Massa both made their names as anti-Kirchnerite candidates, they have been toning down their rhetoric in recent months.
Even though President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has become a divisive figure — loved by many for strengthening the social safety net and vilified by others for her interventionist economic policies after two terms in office — she remains one of Argentina’s most popular politicians.
Despite the president’s continued popularity though, none of the candidates are offering a straight-up continuation of her policies as all hopefuls are offering some degree of change. Both Macri and Massa say they would move faster than Scioli to free the economy from excessive state regulation.
They have pledged to bring down inflation, improve the credibility of government economic data and increase foreign investment in the country while holding on to some of the government’s key economic policies.
Crime has also been one of the main topics addressed by three main candidates, with Scioli unveiling a tough-on-crime Cabinet and Massa suggested deploying the Armed Forces in empoverished neighbourhoods to fight drug-trafficking.
Most of the candidates though have been notably light on policy details, leaving voters to guess on many issues.
The three-way polarization that has emerged in the race means the other three candidates — Margarita Stolbizer of Progressives, Nicolás del Caño of the Workers’ Leftist Front (FIT) and Adolfo Rodríguez Saá of Federal Commitment — struggled to break through the noise.
All eyes will be focused on key districts, particularly Buenos Aires province — the country’s largest electoral district and a Peronist bastion. Córdoba will also be key as outgoing Governor José Manuel de la Sota’s voters are up for grabs after he lost the UNA primary race against Massa.