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 "Today there is a future and it belongs to all of us" in Buenos Aires, Oct. 23, 2013.
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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Texas Gov. Perry Orders State National Guard to Border

Governor says he took extraordinary measure to help secure the border, his critics say it is a political stunt
More

Cuba Hopes for More Investment as Chinese President Arrives

Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a two-day visit to Cuba on Monday evening
More

Video Addicts’ Safe Haven in Vancouver Helps Control HIV

Supervised-injection facility lowers spread of infection locally, studies show, but has critics
More

Video Shunned by Family, Haitian Orphan Finds Supportive Home

'We deal with [HIV] stigma by ... making life as normal for kids as possible'
More

Spanish Police Arrest Suspected Colombian Crime Lord

40-year-old identified as key member of violent Colombian drug cartel, one of Colombia's most wanted criminals
More

China Provides $4B to Venezuela in Exchange for Oil

Deal inked during a 24-hour visit to Venezuela by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is on a tour of Latin America
More