The results of Sunday’s presidential elections in Argentina were quite surprising, mainly because most of the polls had predicted that Daniel Scioli (the candidate of the ruling party, who is currently the governor of the province of Buenos Aires) was going to win by at least eight points.
Despite the number of corruption scandals involving not only high ranking government officials but also the president herself; the mysterious death of AMIA case Prosecutor Alberto Nisman earlier this year, which really shocked the country; and the recent (and scandalous) flooding in the Province of Buenos Aires due to the lack of investment in needed infrastructure; the polls seemed to indicate that Scioli could become Argentina’s next president in the first round.
But this simply did not happen. Scioli won the first round by only two points. He got 36.8 percent of the votes, while his main opponent, Mauricio Macri from the PRO party, got 34.3 percent. Sergio Massa, on the other hand, who is the current mayor of the locality of Tigre, got the third place with 21.3 percent of the votes. A ballotage between Scioli and Macri will therefore take place on Nov. 22.
Now both candidates will try to attract the votes of Massa, but everything seems to indicate that this will be easier for Macri than for Scioli since Massa is a strong opponent of the current government. Macri’s chances of becoming the next president—ending 12 years of “Kirchnerismo” in Argentina—are therefore becoming very real.
An important factor in the great election that Macri had is that Maria Eugenia Vidal, the current deputy major of Buenos Aires city, won the governorship of Buenos Aires Province by defeating Cristina Kirchner’s candidate Anibal Fernandez. In recent months, Fernandez had been accused of having close connections with drug-traffickers in the province. This, coupled with the scandal of the flooding which put into serious question Scioli’s capabilities as a governor, probably helped Vidal win the race, as she is widely seen as a non-corrupt, competent politician.
The ruling party kept its majority in Congress but lost its majority in the House of Representatives. This means that, whoever becomes the next president, will need to negotiate with the opposition, something that has been unknown in Argentina for the last few years and that could certainly strengthen the democratic process.
This report will be updated after the run-off election on Nov. 22.
Adriana Camisar, is an attorney by training who holds a graduate degree in international law and diplomacy from The Fletcher School (Tufts University). She has been B'nai B'rith International Special Advisor on Latin American Affairs since late 2008, and Special Advisor on Latin American Affairs since 2013, when she relocated to Argentina, her native country. Prior to joining B'nai B'rith International, she worked as a research assistant to visiting Professor Luis Moreno Ocampo (former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court), at Harvard University; interned at the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs; worked at a children's rights organization in San Diego, CA; and worked briefly as a research assistant to the Secretary for Legal Affairs at the Organization of American States (OAS). To view some of her additional content, Click Here.
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