Macri and Scioli to Face Off in Argentine Runoff Election

With almost 90 percent of the vote counted, left-wing candidate Scioli slid ahead with a just over 1 percent over his conservative rival Marcri.

Argentina will head to a runoff presidential election next month after provisional presidential results reveal a close race between conservative candidate Mauricio Macri, with 34.97 percent of the vote, and Kirchnerist candidate Daniel Scioli, with 36.12 percent.

The third-place candidate Sergio Massa won just over 21 percent of the vote. Massa’s party, United for a New Alternative (UNA), represents a break-off party popular among the right-wing agriculture block.

According to the Argentine constitution, to win in the first round, the president needs more than 40 percent of the vote and a lead of 10 percent over the other candidates, or more than 45 percent of the vote. If this is not achieved the leading candidates will go to a second round of voting. In this case, Argentines will head to the polls for a second round Nov. 22, when they will chose between Macri and Scioli to take the presidency by Dec. 10.  

The last time there was a runoff between candidates in Argentina was in 1973, when Ricardo Balbin handed the election to Hector Campora, who had won 46.5 percent of the vote.

Exit polls initially suggested that Scioli had secured a clear win, with one politician declaring a “resounding victory,” inviting speculation that he won the 10 percent margin to avoid a runoff. At a rally with supporters, Scioli said that voters did not want the fiscal austerity that Macri, mayor of Buenos Aires, promised. Voter turnout was about 81 percent, with some districts reaching up to 99 percent participation.

Scioli is the candidate for the Front for Victory party, the party of president Cristina Fernandez, and has promised to continue the popular policies of Fernandez of social programs, welfare, industrialization and Latin American unity.

The presidential and parliamentary elections will see Cristina Fernandez step down after eight years in power, following the four years of her late husband Nestor Kirchner.

“There are two very different visions of the present and the future of Argentina which are at stake. Our priorities are the humble, workers and our middle class," said Scioli from the stage at Luna Park in Buenos Aires.

Macri is the candidate of the right-wing opposition in Argentina, and governor of the province of Buenos Aires. He is the son of Franco Macri, businessman who owns one of the largest economic groups in the country.

Some of the key issues leading up to the election have been spiraling prices and inflation, steering foreign policy between greater ties with the European Union or China and Russia, subsidies and social progams, vulture funds, corruption, and agricultural taxation.

Today’s vote will also define the next congress, as citizens voted in half of the House of Representatives and one third of the Senate. They also voted for the governors for 11 out of the 23 provinces in the country, including the province of Buenos Aires where the conservative Maria Eugenia Vidal holds a marginal lead with 39 percent of the vote over the Kirchner candidate Anibal Fernandez at 35 percent.

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