News / Americas

Argentine Midterm Vote to Kick off Next Presidential Race

A photo of candidate Martin Insaurralde of the ruling Frente para la Victoria party, or Front for Victory, appears in a banner that reads in Spanish
A photo of candidate Martin Insaurralde of the ruling Frente para la Victoria party, or Front for Victory, appears in a banner that reads in Spanish "Today there is a future and it belongs to all of us" in Buenos Aires, Oct. 23, 2013.
Reuters
Argentina's legislative elections on Sunday will serve as a starting line for the race to succeed President Cristina Fernandez in 2015, with her support in Congress too low for allies to push through constitutional changes to allow her to run again.
 
Recovering from surgery to remove blood from the surface of her brain this month after she fell and hit her head, Fernandez, 60, has been unable to campaign for her candidates in the final stretch before the midterm vote.
 
Polls show her alliance could lose the majority it has had  in both chambers of Congress since 2011, when Fernandez won a second term on promises of increasing the government's role in Latin America's third biggest economy.
 
In play on Sunday and in 2015 is future policy in one of the world's top grains exporters at a time of booming world food demand. Growers and other investors have long feuded with Fernandez over her interventionist policies.
 
Argentina also emerging as a potential oil and natural gas exporter. Its Vaca Muerta shale formation in Patagonia is expected to be one of the biggest of its kind, and it needs billions of dollars of development investment.
 
Candidates backed by Fernandez won just 26 percent of the vote in a midterm primary vote in August, half of what her alliance got in 2011, and her handpicked congressional candidate had a poor showing in the must-win province of Buenos Aires.
 
Some legislators had said they wanted a constitutional amendment to allow Fernandez to run for a third term, but those hopes were dashed by the poor showing in the primary. To push through reform, they would need two-thirds support in both houses.
 
In Sunday's midterm, voters will choose half of the lower house of Congress and a third of the Senate.
 
MARKETS RALLY
 
Unless Fernandez's allies defy all the polls and win her a strong majority, the vote will almost certainly end speculation about constitutional reforms and start a succession struggle within Fernandez's branch of the Peronist party.
 
Stocks and bonds have rallied on investors' hopes of market-friendly policy changes ahead.
 
The blue-chip Merval stock index is up nearly 50 percent since the Aug. 12 primary, and analysts see more gains ahead if Fernandez's candidates get thumped again on Sunday.
 
“The midterm is the beginning of the end of the Kirchner-Fernandez era,” said Alberto Bernal, head of emerging markets research at Bulltick Capital Markets in Miami, referring to the president and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, who preceded her as Argentina's leader.
 
“The markets are hoping for regime change because nothing less than that can get the economy back on track,” Bernal added.
 
Presidential hopeful Sergio Massa, the business-friendly mayor of Tigre, near the capital, could broaden his 5 percentage point advantage in opinion polls over rival Martin Insaurralde, Fernandez's handpicked candidate in the strategic province of Buenos Aires.
 
If he does so, Massa - who vows to fight crime, combat inflation and improve farm profits - may be well positioned to run for president. But Argentine history shows midterm victors are rarely able to sustain momentum and clinch the nomination.
 
A dark horse could appear over the two years ahead, as was the case with former President Carlos Menem, who burst onto the scene in 1989, and Kirchner in 2003.
 
The vote on Sunday will also test the support of presidential hopefuls such as Julio Cobos, a Radical Party member from Mendoza; Hermes Binner, a socialist from Santa Fe; Buenos Aires Governor Daniel Scioli, an ally of the president despite his market-friendly views; and the capital city's mayor, Mauricio Macri.
 
Fernandez, meanwhile, has been weakened by fears over the economy. Inflation is clocked by private economists at around 25 percent, while foreign exchange controls have cut access to U.S. dollars, Argentina's traditional currency of choice for savers.
 
Import controls make it hard for some businesses to get basic supplies needed for production.
 
Farmers say the limits that the government puts on corn and wheat exports kill profits along with a 35 percent tax slapped on soybean shipments.

You May Like

Forest Stands Between Nigeria, Victory Over Boko Haram

Military takes back nearly all towns, villages in northeast, except for massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers over several states More

IS Recruiting Stokes Fears for Parents in Georgia

Chechens are notable part of Islamic State's gains in Syria and Iraq, and analysts fear what might happen if those fighters return to Caucasus More

Yarmouk Camp Becomes Distant Memory for Palestinian Diaspora

Once thriving capital of Palestinian diaspora, after siege by Syrian government forces and Islamic State group, camp becomes 'deepest circle of hell' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'i
X
Sharon Behn
April 21, 2015 9:18 PM
A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten. Sharon Behn reports on the politics of the word genocide on the 100th anniversary of the events.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video German Program Helps Migrants Overcome Traumatic Experience at Sea

Migrants fleeing poverty and violence in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia risk life and limb to reach safety in Europe. Those who have made it to European shores are traumatized by the experience. A program in Germany helps survivors overcome the trauma by giving a new perspective to their catastrophic experience. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

US Cancer Center, Software Firm Strike Deals in Cuba

Agreements made during two-day trade mission to Cuba led by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
More

Santos: Colombia Will Not Cave to Political Pressure to End Peace Talks

Demands that president abandon 2-year-old negotiations with FARC mount after rebels broke a unilateral ceasefire last week, killing 11 soldiers in an ambush
More

Venezuelans Press Need for Higher Oil Prices on Mideast Visit

Venezuelans' need for oil supply cuts has yet to shift stance of Gulf OPEC allies, which are focusing on protecting market share
More

Official: Honduras Foiled 2014 Cartel Plot to Kill President

Security ministry spokesman says plot hatched by Colombian, Mexican, Honduran and Guatemalan gangsters last September
More

Kerry Says US Open to Improved Ties With Venezuela

At Washington conference, he also calls US efforts to re-establish ties with Havana the best way to help Cubans achieve greater freedom
More

Chileans Continue Protest Against Bishop With Links to Abuser

Juan Barros, recently appointed to southern Chile diocese, is accused of having shielded country's most notorious pedophile priest
More