With tough defeats in almost all of Argentina, the national government has been badly hit already thinking about the November elections and conditioned by what remains of its administration. The fall of all united Peronism in the legislative primaries did not appear in any of the polls and has taken even the most optimistic sectors of the opposition by surprise.
The lists of candidates for deputies presented by the ruling Frente de Todos were the most voted in seven of the 24 Argentine jurisdictions, and those of senators were only the most voted in two of the eight provinces that this year have to elect representatives for the Upper House, reports EFE. But the strongest impact has been what happened in the Province of Buenos Aires, where the main figures of the Frente de Todos had actively participated in the campaign.
When after 9:30 p.m., the Minister of the Interior, Wado de Pedro, announced that the first data was available, no one could imagine the political earthquake that would ensue seconds later. Until that moment, the Frente de Todos confirmed a victory by 7 or 8 points and their main references had already gone out on stage to celebrate in La Plata. The political scene changed as the scrutiny was updated.
In a context in which the government had been tied to its management of the pandemic and with few economic numbers to show, the ruling party had considered winning “even by one vote.” In that imagined election, the strategy for the next two years was cemented and some already mentioned the possibility of repeating the formula that had been won in 2019, with Alberto Fernández and Cristina Kirchner undamaged. Now the scene has changed dramatically.
“When the people express themselves, it is a piece of information that we take into account and abide by. We must not have done something right so that the people did not accompany us. There is a demand that we have not satisfied and from tomorrow we will work on that,” said the president. Alberto Fernández from the Frente de Todos bunker in Chacarita. “We are facing two models of the country, one is the one that includes the Argentines and the other that leaves them out. Now we have to set ourselves a goal: we are going to correct what has been done wrong or what has not been done. The campaign has just started and in November we have to win it, “he said to applause and surrounded by the main leaders of the front, including Cristina, Axel Kicillof, Máximo Kirchner and Sergio Massa.
The coup in the province of Buenos Aires
In the province of Buenos Aires, which gathers 37% of the national register, the two lists of candidates for deputies presented by the opposition front bring together 38.08 of the votes, with 93.92% of votes counted in the provisional count -the definitive one, in charge of the Justice, will begin next Tuesday-, according to EFE. It is followed by the single list of the ruling Frente de Todos, headed by Victoria Tolosa Paz, with 33.57% of the votes, followed by other opposition proposals.
The shock wave in the Province of Buenos Aires reached all sectors of the Frente de Todos. Victoria Tolosa Paz was the candidate put up by Alberto Fernández, but Máximo Kirchner had articulated with all the internal sectors and Axel Kicillof is the owner of the house. Although Kirchnerism had not won a midterm election in Buenos Aires for 15 years, this must be the most painful defeat of all because it was with all of Peronism united.
When analyzing the map of the country, the image of defeat is more widespread. The historic central opposition strip that began in Córdoba, Mendoza, San Luis, Entre Ríos was joined by all the rest of the districts with the exception of NOA and Formosa.
In the City of Buenos Aires, the district of origin of the PRO, and where since 2007 it has not lost elections, Larreta’s leadership was at stake. The departure of Bullrich, the appearance of López Murphy and that of Milei forced the head of government to respond with votes. Although Vidal’s election was lower than expected, the sum of Juntos’s votes passed 48%. But Larreta not only smiled because of what was happening in his own district but also because of the luck of the former vice-vice on the other side of General Paz, who had prevailed in the internal against Facundo Manes and who now appears as the favorite in the Province for November.
The fine numbers last night also showed bad news in the projection of a future conformation in Congress for the ruling party. Of the eight provinces in which senators are elected, the Frente de Todos would only win in two, in Tucumán and Catamarca. Within the Upper House, it would lose 5 senators while the opposition would add three. In this way, she would lose her quorum and Cristina would have serious problems imposing the projects she promotes. Which would force her to negotiate with the provincial parties. In Deputies, the result would not modify the current situation so much. The ruling party would lose three seats (from 120 to 117), would continue without a quorum and would be forced to negotiate there with provincial forces as well. Together it advances, if the results are maintained, in that Chamber (from 115 to 116) and the ruling party would continue to be the first minority. In this way, neither of them would have their own quorum.
Changes in the Government are being prepared
These results will surely provoke changes in the Government that have already been presumed even if the scenario was not one of defeat. Several members of the Cabinet could leave their positions, to give an image of renewal in the face of the wear and tear of these first two years. If Alberto’s intention is what he hinted at in his speech, he will have to choose well the new performers within his environment.
Outside of the two great forces, there were other sectors that made very good choices. Economist Javier Milei ranked third in the City, with almost 12% of the votes. In his first presentation, the libertarian candidate has the prospect of putting more than one deputy in CABA. In the province, José Luis Espert did not have such good numbers and was behind the left. Precisely the FIT is another of the coalitions that grew with respect to the past elections. In the City it came fourth with more than 6% of the votes, in the Province it was third with 5% and had very good numbers in the interior of the country, as in Jujuy, where it had 23% of the votes.