Macri’s coalition sweeps Argentina primaries

Buenos Aires, Sep 12 (EFE).- Argentina’s main opposition coalition, Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change), led by former president Mauricio Macri, welcomed “another opportunity” after securing the most votes in the country’s main electoral districts in the legislative primary elections on Sunday.

“Thank you to everyone who went to vote today and gave us a another opportunity. We know that it is a task and an obligation,” the pre-candidate for national deputy for Buenos Aires city and former governor of Buenos Aires province, María Eugenia Vidal, one of the day’s winners, told supporters.

In these primaries, voting in which is compulsory, coalitions can present several lists of candidates by party. The most voted-for candidate from each party that has obtained at least 1.5 percent of all votes cast will be allowed to run for the legislative elections on Nov. 14, in which half of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies will be renewed and a third of the Senate.

With 98.64 percent of the votes counted in the capital, the three lists presented by Juntos por el Cambio, headed by Vidal, together obtained 48.19 percent of the votes, followed by 24.66 percent for the only candidate presented by the ruling Frente de Todos (Everybody’s Front) – which has a Peronist majority and to which President Alberto Fernández belongs – and by other minor parties.

Buenos Aires city is considered one of the main strongholds of the opposition.

Horacio Rodríguez Larreta has been the city’s mayor since 2015, when he took over from Macri, who won the presidential elections that year and governed the country until 2019, when he was defeated by Fernández amid an economic crisis that erupted in 2018 and continues till today.

“Obviously we have not done something right, so people haven’t accompanied us as we expected them to,” said the president at the Frente de Todos headquarters in Buenos Aires.

“We know that there are mistakes that we have made and that we should not have made. We learn from mistakes. In addition, there is obviously a demand that we surely have not adequately satisfied in the voters, and from tomorrow we will take care of paying attention,” he added.

In third place in the city with 13.66 percent of the votes is La Libertad Avanza, led by libertarian economist and political “outsider,” Javier Milei, who has gained media attention in recent months with his strident anti-system discourse and against the traditional political “caste.”

Beyond the capital city, the biggest surprise of the election was Buenos Aires province, the largest electoral district in the country, which accounts for 37 percent of the country’s electorate and has traditionally been a stronghold of Peronism.

The two lists of candidates for deputies presented by Juntos por el Cambio secured 38.08 percent of the votes, with 93.92 percent of the votes counted.

It is followed by the only list of the ruling Frente de Todos, headed by Victoria Tolosa Paz, with 33.56 percent of the votes, followed by other opposition candidates.

Among other important districts where the provisional count has nearly concluded, in the province of Córdoba, the lists of the same opposition coalition are leading with 47.55 percent of votes for deputies and 47.80 percent for senators and, in Santa Fe, with 40.31 percent and 40.10 percent for the lower and upper house respectively.

“Our task is, between now and November, to achieve a bloc in Congress that prevents the absolute majority of the ruling party, to put an end to arrogance, high-handedness, fear, improvisation forever,” concluded Vidal, who was defeated by the Peronist Axel Kicillof in the 2019 gubernatorial elections in Buenos Aires. EFE


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