Saturday, September 25

Keys to understanding the electoral defeat of Peronism in Argentina

For the Argentine government, the result was worse than expected. Not even in the most pessimistic projections did the Peronist leaders, who came forward together, imagined a scenario as catastrophic as the one left by Sunday’s elections. More than 22 million Argentines, representing 67% of the electoral roll, approached the voting centers to define the candidates for senators and deputies in an open, simultaneous and compulsory primary (PASO). Those elected will compete in the final election on November 14.

Although Sunday’s results do not define the seats in Congress, they do function as a prelude to what may happen in the elections that will take place in two months. For the election of deputies, if we add the votes of the political parties in all the country’s provinces, Together for Change (JxC), the conservative coalition of former President Mauricio Macri, got 40% of the votes. Nine points lower was the official Frente de Todos (FdT), with 31%. The left, at the national level, reached 6%. But, as the election is for local offices, it is essential to distinguish by districts.

Result in Buenos Aires

Of the eight provinces in which senators are elected, the FdT only won in two, in Tucumán and Catamarca. In deputies, he did a little better. If these results are repeated in November, the scenario does not modify the current situation much in the lower house, but it does in the senate, where the government could lose 5 senators and the opposition would add three. In this way, the FdT would be left without a quorum, which would generate serious problems for it to impose its projects.

In the province of Buenos Aires, the district with the highest electoral weight at the national level, which accounts for 37% of the total national electoral roll, the Government obtained 33.6% for the positions of deputies headed by the candidate Victoria Tolosa Paz. While the opponent Diego Santilli, from Juntos, reached 38 points. An unexpected result for macrismo.

Once the results were known, the only speaker on behalf of the Government was President Alberto Fernández. Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and leader Sergio Massa accompanied him on stage.

“We have not done something right so that people do not accompany us and all of us who are here listen to the verdict. There is a demand that we have not satisfied and that from tomorrow we will pay attention,” said the president on Sunday night. In tune with that speech, this Monday he sought to show an attitude of “turning the page” and be active in management by appearing at an event at the Casa Rosada, with an eye on the labor and productive reactivation of the country. “This path that we started in 2019, as far as we are concerned, is not going to change,” is the only reference to the issue made by Fernández.

In these two months that remain before the November elections, the Peronism that presents itself together may be forced to change its strategy. The critical economic situation, with inflation exceeding 50% and half of the population below the poverty line, puts the Government on the ropes. One of the possibilities is a cabinet renovation to try to bring in new air.

The opposition also surprised

The victory surprised even the main opposition force of Together for Change. In the City of Buenos Aires, the district of origin of the PRO founded by Mauricio Macri, a terrain difficult to access for Peronism, the opposition candidate and former governor of the province of Buenos Aires, María Eugenia Vidal, achieved a good result with 33 points , eight more than the candidate of the FdT, Leandro Santoro.

But the measurement of forces also happened on the other side. What was at stake this Sunday was also the leadership of the mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, within this coalition. Larreta has been gaining much prominence since former president Macri decided to appear less in public. But the mayor had much more to celebrate: his candidate in the province of Buenos Aires, Diego Santilli, surpassed his opponents in the primaries and managed to impose himself on the government candidates in a field with historical Peronist preferences such as the province of Buenos Aires. .

The irruption of the extreme right

Argentina was so far oblivious to the emergence of far-right parties. Voters still relied on the political system and competition between traditional parties as a way to resolve conflicts. But with this election, the situation changed.

Thus, another of the surprises was the result of the far-right economist Javier Milei, who ranked third in Buenos Aires with almost 12% of the votes.

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