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Big Win Expected in Argentine Presidential Race for First Lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner


Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is claiming victory in Argentina's presidential election, with partial results indicating she will avoid a run-off and become the first woman elected to the position.

Ms. Fernandez appeared in Buenos Aires Sunday evening after early official returns and exit polls indicated she will succeed her husband in office, declaring that she had won by "large margin."

Her nearest challengers in the race, former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna and former lawmaker Eliso Carrio have both conceded defeat.

With over half of the ballots counted early Monday, Ms. Fernandez had captured 43 percent of the vote.

Surveys of Argentines who had cast ballots projected Ms. Fernandez would win up to 46 percent of the vote - more than enough to avoid a second-round, runoff election.

The 54-year-old, three-term senator entered the campaign this year after her husband, President Nestor Kirchner, announced he was stepping aside after one term in office.

Ms. Fernandez says she will continue Mr. Kirchner's policies, which revived Argentina's economy after its collapse in 2001.

Electoral law in Argentina calls for a runoff vote if neither of two sets of conditions are met: a victorious presidential candidate must either have 45 percent of the vote, or a 40-percent showing combined with a 10-percentage-point lead over the nearest challenger.

Argentines also voted Sunday for provincial governors, members of both houses of the legislature and local lawmakers.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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