Tuesday, 20 August, 2019


Macri suffers crushing defeat in key Argentina primaries

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Bennie Garza | 13 August, 2019, 17:42

BBC- Argentine stock markets and its currency have both plunged after Conservative Argentine President Mauricio Macri suffered a shock defeat in primary elections on Sunday. The vote, however, is an opportunity to poll voters and determine potential front-runners in the future race.

With 84 percent of ballots counted, Alberto Fernández had 47 percent of votes versus 32 percent for Macri.

Happy and excited about the results of the primary elections, presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez said that "A new Argentina is being born, " and another history is beginning to be written.

In order to win the presidency outright in October, a candidate needs at least 45 per cent of the vote or 40 per cent and a difference of 10 percentage points over the second-place candidate. If neither scenario happens, there's a runoff vote on November 24.

Centrist former Finance Minister Roberto Lavagna came in at a distant third with just 8.3 %.

The election functioned largely as a poll for the October vote.

Argentina's economy continues to sink, with inflation rising to 55 percent and poverty levels increasing to 32, from around 26 percent the previous year.

The Argentine president said he was taking the necessary and painful steps to get the economy going after 12 years of populist policies under former President Cristina Fernandez and her predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner.

On the NY stock exchange, Argentine bonds lost around 20 per cent and shares in companies from the recession-hit South American country haemorrhaged more than 50 per cent.

Markets are also anxious over de Kirchner, whose years as president from 2007 to 2015 were marked by a balance of payments crisis, interventionist state policies, currency controls and protectionism.

Speaking in Buenos Aires after the result Mr Fernandez said: "Argentinians realised we are the change, not them", and vowed "to end this time of lies and give a new horizon". However, he was forced instead to seek a record $57 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund. "We always fix the problems that others create". Matias Carugati, chief economist for Management & Fit, said the victory of the Fernandez team would put "sustained" pressure on the exchange rate and stocks due to the prospect that the South American's recent free, less state-interventionist course could be reversed.

Right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro warned that his country could see a wave of migrants fleeing Argentina if Fernandez wins the presidential election.

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