BUENOS AIRES, Sept. 12 (Reuters) – Argentina’s main opposition party struck a blow against the ruling Peronists on Sunday, winning key races in a primary vote in Congress which is a leading indicator of how voters will vote in the midterm elections in November.
The conservative opposition was led by around 5 percentage points in the key province of Buenos Aires, with some 84% of the votes cast in the populated region which has been a stronghold of support for the center-left government of Alberto Fernandez.
Other results of the compulsory vote showed the ruling party was backing down, which, if repeated in the November 14 election, could see the government losing its majority in the Senate and risking its largest minority position in the House. bass deputies.
“The ruling party lost 1.2 million votes compared to 2019 (presidential election); it brings them to a level that, if repeated in November, leaves Alberto Fernandez very weakened, ”said Mariel Fornoni, Director of Management & Fit.
With most candidates already defined, the open primary vote serves as a nationwide dress rehearsal ahead of the November 14 midterm ballot, where 127 seats in the Chamber of Deputies are up for grabs out of a total of 257, as well. only 24 seats outside. 72 in the Senate.
Many voters feel abandoned by the main political parties. A long recession, runaway inflation and a poverty rate that has risen to 42% have hurt public support for the government, despite recent signs of economic recovery and declining coronavirus cases.
“There is great discontent among the people,” said Patricia Coscarello, a 52-year-old administrative worker outside Buenos Aires, after voting. “Apart from the pandemic, the economic situation is complex and wages are falling. “
Fernandez can point to a vaccine rollout that has now reached over 46 million vaccinations for a population of similar size, a drop in daily COVID-19 cases and the economy emerging from recession earlier this year after a plunge in 2020.
“Obviously, some things we didn’t do well because people didn’t accompany us as we would have liked,” President Fernandez said after the results alongside his party leadership, adding that the party would learn from its mistakes and grow stronger.
“The campaign has just started and in November we have to win it because we have a commitment to Argentina. “
Griselda Picone, 60, a housewife from the capital, said she voted for the ruling party despite some concerns.
“While there is a lot to improve, the alternative that previously ruled (Together for Change) made it all worse,” she said. “It seems to me that the management of the economy during the pandemic has actually been good. “
The country’s turbulent financial markets, which collapsed after a presidential primary in 2019 showed Fernandez won that year’s election by a landslide, could rise if Sunday’s vote goes against the party in power. Read more
The logic is that stronger opposition would temper the more militant wings of the Peronists. They have sometimes clashed with investors, the powerful agricultural sector and the International Monetary Fund, which is negotiating a debt deal with the government.
Ana Pertusati, a 36-year-old lawyer, and others were pessimistic about the prospects for improvement.
“When you ask around, most people don’t even know the top candidates,” she said as she stood in line to vote. “It seems whoever wins, it might be of little use in making real positive change for people. “
Report by Nicolas Misculin and Jorge Otaola; Additional reports by Agustin Geist, Eliana Raszewski, Lucila Sigal; Edited by Adam Jourdan, Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin
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