Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri has managed an extremely close second place to Daniel Scioli, the candidate endorsed by current president Cristina Kirchner, according to early numbers reported the official Argentina Elections website.
Mauricio and Daniel will now face off in a ballotage on November 22. Polls leading up the election had been split on whether or not Scioli would manage to trounce Macri by the 10 percent gain required to win the election without moving on to a second round. Mauricio inching out ahead even by a small margin has given hope to his center-right PRO party that they can end 14 years of governance by center-left party Frente para la Victoria (FpV).
News of Macri’s strong showing in Argentina’s presidential elections set the bunker where his supporters had gathered into a frenzy, reported La Nación. Mauricio came forward to let the country know that he was taking the results as confirmation that citizens were looking for a new direction for the country.
“This day has changed the politics of this country. The challenges that wait for us won’t be easy or simple, but I personally have a lot of faith.”
Scioli’s statement to his own campaign pointed out the potential failings of a Macri-led government. He stated that key programs and business boons would not have existed with Mauricio at the helm and emphasized that the PRO candidate had the interests of the upper class at heart.
“There exist two different visions of the present and the future of Argentina that are in play. Our priority are the humble, the working class and our middle class.”
Despite his strong showing in Argentina’s elections, it’s also important to note that Marci will still find it difficult to defeat Daniel given that the PRO party is much further to the right than the other candidates who received the remaining 30 percent of the vote. Mauricio is actually the only candidate running who isn’t considered a Peronista, politicians following in the footsteps of former President Juan Domingo Perón and his wife Eva “Evita” Perón.
In third place with more than 20 percent of the vote is Sergio Massa, who was actually a member of FpV and served as Cristina’s Chief of Staff from 2008 and 2009. Since then, Sergio has broken away from kirchnerismo, but his voters are still more likely to vote for Scioli than Macri in the second round. The same is true for the small portion of the vote secured by Daniel del Caño of the Frente de Izquierda, Margarita Stolbilzer of the Progressive Party, and Adolfo Rodríguez Saá of the Justicialista Party. In fact, a poll released last month by Ipsos-Mora y Araujo showed Daniel triumphing over Mauricio by around 5 percent in a ballotage, reported news site Infobae. That same poll showed Massa coming out victorious if he was put head-to-head with Scioli.
Macri ran for the presidential office under the Cambiemos coalition, which consists of PRO, the Unión Cívica Radical, and Coalición Cívica ARI. If he was able to secure a win on November 22, Mauricio has vowed to get the country back into international markets, lower runaway inflation down to between 0 and 4 percent, and finally push the country to a reasonable solution with its debtors. In an article critical of the Kirchner government, the Economist pointed out that despite the shaky economy, a Cristina-backed candidate would still be a difficult sell for many Argentinians who have seen their lives improve greatly under the Kirchners.
“Many credit the Kirchners with rescuing the economy from a slump in the early 2000s and for the growth that ensued (which owed a lot to high prices for soyabeans, the biggest export). They were open-handed leaders: 40% of the population receives a pension, salary or welfare from the government, a share that has doubled since Ms Fernández took office in 2007. Among recent presidents, only her husband left office with higher approval ratings.”
Mauricio Macri and Daniel Scioli now have 27 more days of campaigning to grab Cristina Kirchner’s presidency in the final election.
[Image via Sean Gallup/Getty Images]