Major upset in Argentina primary

12 Août, 2019, 23:08 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • A woman looks for her polling station number outside a school during primary elections in Buenos Aires Argentina Sunday Aug. 11 2019. Argentina is holding primary elections Sunday which are expected to provide a hint of who might win ahead of October

With the initial market reaction, the Argentinian peso came under strong selling pressure as markets Alberto Fernandez and his running mate, former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, reviving concerns that Macri's efforts to bring down the fiscal deficit will be reversed if Fernandez wins the election in October.

The left-wing pair won nearly half of the votes in the primary elections ahead of October's presidential ballot while incumbent Mauricio Macri's share slumped to just one-third in the poll. If that result were to be replicated in October, Fernandez would take the presidency without the need for a runoff.

"It is a shocking and practically irreversible result, which leaves the government in a power vacuum in the middle of a very delicate economy", said Shila Vilker, an analyst with Argentine firm Trespuntozero.

Argentina's opposition leader Alberto Fernandez, won the primary elections on Sunday securing, 47.37% of votes.

"We've had a bad election and that forces us to redouble our efforts from tomorrow", said Macri, whose popularity has plunged since last year's currency crisis and the much-criticized $56 billion International Monetary Fund bail-out loan he secured.

The primary marked the first chance voters have had to register their preference in a high-stakes presidential race between staying the course of painful austerity measures under Mr. Macri or a return to interventionist economics.

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Argentina is in recession with inflation at over 55% after more than three years of Macri's policies.

Kirchner imposed strict currency controls that slammed investment during her 2007-2015 administration.

Re-electing Mr. Macri would mean seeing through painful cuts in public spending as part of the $75-billion standby agreement he negotiated with the International Monetary Fund previous year.

Analysts predicted it could be "game over" for Macri after Sunday's results. "We always fix problems left by others".

"It hurts that we haven't had the support we'd hoped for", he added.

Monday's sell-off was exacerbated by the last-minute wave of optimism about Macri's prospects that caused the Merval stock index to jump 6.7 per cent on Friday. The Argentine currency will start trading around 9 a.m. If neither scenario happens, there's a runoff vote on November 24. "Everybody I talk to is in shock".

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