Argentina votes, with challenger Alberto Fernandez expected to clinch victory

Argentina will hold presidential elections today, with Peronist opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez is expected to soundly defeat incumbent President Mauricio

argentina election

Photo: Agustin Marcarian/Reuters

Argentina will hold presidential elections today, with Peronist opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez is expected to soundly defeat incumbent President Mauricio Macri.

A candidate must win 45% of the vote, or 40% of vote with a 10-point margin over the closest rival, to win the presidential race in one round. Fernandez won the August primaries with 16-point margin over Macri, and polls suggest that he will win 54% in this round.

The economy has played against Macri’s re-election chances. Argentina’s economy is expected to contract by 3.1% this year, annual inflation is at 55% and the peso weak. Argentina is also at the risk of again defaulting on its debt. Indeed, Macri has already delayed some $100 billion in domestic and foreign loan repayments. Meanwhile, the president’s pension and utility-subsidy reforms aimed at restricting public spending have been met with protests.

Argentina agreed to a $57 billion dollar agreement with the IMF last May, but Fernandez has indicated he will renegotiate if he’s elected. It is likely that he will restructure the debt by delaying bond repayments instead of lowering asset prices, which has given creditors hope. However, his pledge to increase pensions and wages may not be plausible given the IMF has withheld some of the loan, and may only release it if Fernandez continues Macri’s reforms.

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