Alberto Fernández’s government suffered a defeat in the primary elections on Sunday (12) and this could imply the loss of control of the Senate and a reduction in the government’s bench in the Chamber of Deputies.
In Argentina there are elections to renew a part of the Legislature in the middle of the president’s term – this vote will take place on November 14th.
The ruling coalition could lose the majority it currently has in the Senate. In the Chamber, the government has a minority and would need 10 more seats to win the majority.
The Argentine electoral system forces electoral fronts to do a primary vote – that is, voters choose who should be the candidate of each party. As a voter can only vote for one name for one party, these primaries also reflect what preference each front has among the electorate.
Argentina’s two main political coalitions are Juntos, from the opposition, and Frente de Todos, from the government. Together, led by former president Mauricio Macri, won in most districts in the country.
Defeat in the province of Buenos Aires
Maria Eugenia Vidal, former governor of the province of Buenos Aires, and Horácio Larreta, mayor of the city of Buenos Aires, on September 12, 2021 — Photo: Raul Ferrari / Telam / AFP
The result was bad for the government even in one of its main strongholds, which are the cities around Buenos Aires. In the province of the same name (which does not include the capital), with more than 76% of the vote taken, Juntos had 38.3% of the votes, against 33.5% by Frente de Todos.
In the city of Buenos Aires, where the right is stronger, the numbers are even tougher for the government. With 96% of the ballots counted, Juntos registered 48.27% of the votes, against 24.62% of the Fernández alliance.
“It is a catastrophic scenario for the government. With these numbers, the perspective is that the opposing triumph should be consolidated within two months”, said political scientist Carlos Fara.
“We all listened to the people’s verdict with respect and great attention,” said Fernández, alongside his party’s top leaders, after the results were announced.
“Starting tomorrow (Monday) we are going to work so that in November they accompany us because we are still convinced that we are facing two models of the country, one that includes everyone and another that leaves many aside,” he said.
Primaries marked by the pandemic
The primaries were marred by the Covid-19 pandemic, which postponed voting due to health measures.
Voters in the City of Buenos Aires, September 12, 2021 — Photo: Alejandro Pagni / AFP
The pandemic has caused more than 113,000 deaths in 5.5 million cases in the country, with a sharp decrease in infections in recent weeks as vaccination progresses. More than 63% of Argentina’s 45 million inhabitants have received a dose and 40% have been fully immunized.
A total of 34 million people were registered to vote. The participation rate was just over 67%.