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Ruling Party Loses Majority in Argentine Parliamentary Elections

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's ruling Peronist Party was dealt a serious blow in Sunday's mid-term election with its loss of control of Congress.

Her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, was defeated in his race against wealthy businessman Francisco de Narvaez for a seat representing the populous Buenos Aires province.

Voters cast ballots Sunday for representatives for half of the lower house of Congress and one-third of the Senate posts. Complete results have yet to be announced.

Allies of President Fernandez have controlled the Argentinian Congress for six years. But recent polls indicated support for the president had fallen to 30%, with the economy to blame.

The president moved up the vote from October to June, saying there was a need to concentrate on the global financial crisis. Critics say she acted out of fear that her political support will erode as the slowdown takes its toll on the economy.

President Fernandez was inaugurated in December, 2007, taking over from her husband. Her popularity has fallen, partly because of a dispute with farmers over export taxes on soybeans and other crops.

The Chamber of Deputies has 257 members. The Senate has 72 members.

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