Argentina votes in Presidential Second Round Runoff


The second round runoff for the presidential election in Argentina takes place today.

Opinion polls suggest that the opposition candidate, Mauricio Macri has a good chance of winning a surprise victory. Macri is the leader of the centre-right Republican Proposal (PRO), but in this election he is standing for a coalition of opposition parties under the heading Cambiemos or “Let’s change.”

The Cambiemos coalition also includes the centre to centre-left Radical Civic Union (UCR), and the centrist Civic Coalition (CC).

The ruling centre-left Front for Victory (FpV) candidate, Daniel Scioli, supported by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner looked like the most likely winner up to the first round on 25th October. Opinion polls suggested that he would take a clear lead even though it might go to a second round runoff. But in the final result the vote was much closer than expected. Scioli took 37.08% of the vote and Macri took 34.15%.

Third placed candidate Sergio Massa of the United for a New Alternative (UNA), a three party coalition, took 21.39% of the vote. Following the first round he looked like being the kingmaker but throughout second round runoff campaigning he has made it clear that he would not endorse either candidate. Nevertheless, in one quote he said that he favoured change – perhaps a play on words suggesting that he was closer to the “Let’s Change” Macri camp.

Towards the end of the campaign Massa went on to say “I have the feeling that Macri will win”. Whether this was a coded message to his supporters is unclear, but opinion polls conducted during the second round runoff campaign suggest that 60% of Massa supporters will vote for Macri and 40% will support Scioli.

A 14th November poll by Management & Fit which was reported by Reuters suggested that 52% of voters plan to support Macri whilst 43.7% will support Scioli. Remembering, of course, that the pollsters got the numbers wrong in the first round and some are reporting around 10% of voters will make up their minds on polling day.

So this election looks like being a close result. Whoever wins will have a tough time ahead and is expected to have to put in place austerity measures. The economy is in poor shape, international investors have abandoned the country and trade protectionism has stripped the coffers of reserves. With a likely win for Mauricio Macri the stock market reached record highs last week and bond yields are at their lowest for eight years according to Bloomberg.

Whoever wins today will take office on 10th December.

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