One person’s shadow will loom large over Argentina’s legislative elections on Sunday. It isn’t Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s, the former two-term president running for a senatorial seat that could either propel her into a third presidential bid or potentially end her life-long political career. It isn’t that of Education Minister Esteban Bullrich, Fernandez’s main opponent. Instead, the name that will be at the forefront of voters minds will be Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old tattoo artist and indigenous rights activist from Veinticinco de Mayo, whose body was found on Thursday, nearly 80 days after his disappearance in a case that has captivated the attention and political discussions of the entire country.
Articles about voting issues in the Argentine Republic.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s reform agenda received a critical boost on Sunday after his Cambiemos alliance gained ground in congressional mid-term elections. Preliminary results showed Cambiemos is set to win Argentina’s five largest electoral districts, including the key battleground of Buenos Aires province where his ally Esteban Bullrich defeated ex-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a fierce critic. With 99 percent of votes counted, Bullrich was on 41 percent with 37 percent for Fernandez, according to the National Electoral Directorate. At a national level, Cambiemos won in 12 out of 24 provinces and gained between 41 percent and 42 percent of the total vote, Cabinet Chief Marcos Pena said. “We are the generation that is changing history,” Macri told a crowd of supporters in Buenos Aires. “This is only just beginning.”
The recovery of a corpse this week in a river in Patagonia has shaken up Argentina in the final stretch of a high-stakes midterm election, amid widespread speculation that it is the body of Santiago Maldonado, an indigenous rights activist missing for more than two months. The remains were found on Tuesday less than 1,000 feet upriver from where Mr. Maldonado, 28, was reported last seen on Aug. 1 during an indigenous rights protest that was broken up by security forces. Mr. Maldonado’s ID was found on the body, his brother, Sergio Maldonado, said at a news conference Wednesday night, although relatives were awaiting the results of a forensic examination to confirm the identity. “Until I am 100 percent certain I will not confirm it,” Mr. Maldonado said hours before the body was flown to Buenos Aires for an autopsy, which was scheduled to begin Friday morning.
On 24th November the opposition-controlled Argentine Senate blocked a vote on electoral reform that included the implementation of a new electronic voting system as proposed by President Mauricio Macri. The government-sponsored bill had already been approved by the lower house of Congress in October, but the delay in the Senate means it will not be sanctioned before the end of the legislative year, and therefore not applicable for the mid-term elections in October 2017. However, the government says it will continue to push for the reform, and the debate over the electronic voting system – known as the Single Electronic Ballot (BUE, in Spanish) – continues in Argentina, where it has already been deployed in the province of Salta and the city of Buenos Aires. Various forms of electronic voting are also currently present in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Estonia, India, the USA, and Switzerland, while other states such as Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands have abandoned it after a short period of use.
Argentina’s senate voted down an electoral reform proposal that included the implementation of single electronic ballots. Many are calling the decision a political defeat for Mauricio Macri, who backed the reform, and which was heavily opposed by the Kirchner bloc, known as the Front for Victory. Thursday, November 26, the political party made its majority status in the Senate known by holding off the initiative, based on the testimony of computer experts and their explanations regarding “the high vulnerability of some of the proposed methods” involved in the electronic voting ballots. The Peronists reportedly guaranteed their support for the reform, but decided yesterday to boycott it. Experts only seemed to be on board with an effort to “continue analyzing tools that will improve the electoral system.”
After 12 years of leftist government, Argentina shifted towards the centre-right on Sunday by giving a presidential victory to Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri of the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) party. With 98.87% of the vote counted, the former chief executive of the Boca Juniors football club was on 51.44%, nearly three points ahead of his rival Daniel Scioli of the Peronist Victory Front who was on 48.56%. The result is likely to reverberate across Latin America.
Four weeks ago, it was widely expected that the next president of Argentina would be the candidate of the ruling party. But in a first-round election that stunned the nation, opposition leader Mauricio Macri stole the momentum, and as voters return to the polls on Sunday the presidency looks like his to lose. Macri is the more market-friendly candidate and global companies are lining up to invest, persuaded that the country will reopen for business since he is leading the ruling Peronist party’s Daniel Scioli by 6 to 8 percentage points. Up to a tenth of voters remain undecided, however, and polls were off a month ago, so there is room for surprise.
In the future, books about Argentina’s economic history in the early 21st Century will have to come with a comprehensive glossary. South America’s second-largest economy has been through so many different economic policies and experiments in the past two decades that a whole new vocabulary has sprung up to explain day-to-day economic transactions. Buenos Aires’ main commercial street, Calle Florida, now has dozens of “little trees” (arbolitos), the name given to black-market traders who buy and sell dollars openly in the streets. They stand around like bushes holding up their green leaves (dollar bills). Some traders prefer to “make puree” (“hacer puré”), which is to buy dollars from the government and resell them to the “caves” (“cuevas”), the illegal exchange rate shops that deal with “blue” (black-market dollars).
Mauricio Macri’s surprisingly strong showing against Daniel Scioli in the Oct. 25 presidential election shook up Argentina’s political landscape. The main question before the election was whether Scioli, the candidate of president Cristina Fernández’s Front for Victory (FPV) alliance, could gain enough votes to avoid a runoff election. Since Scioli led many of the polls by more than 10 points over Macri, the front-runner and mayor of Buenos Aires, the concern was whether he could get either 45 percent of the vote or 40 percent and a 10-point advantage over the second place candidate — the conditions necessary to win in the first round without a runoff. Indeed, many pundits speculated that Macri would go the way of Mexico’s Andres Manuel López Obrador, claiming the election was stolen from him. None of this happened.
In a much closer first round of presidential voting than expected, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri did well enough to force a Nov. 22 runoff with first-place finisher Daniel Scioli, the candidate of Argentina’s ruling party. With nearly all votes counted, Scioli, who is governor of Buenos Aires state and a former vice president, tallied 36.9% of the ballots cast. Macri was close behind with 34.3%. Scioli, the handpicked choice of outgoing President Cristina Fernandez, needed at least 40% and a 10-percentage-point advantage to avoid a second round of voting. When it became clear he would not win outright, Scioli emerged from his campaign headquarters in Buenos Aires on Sunday night to ask for independent voters’ support. Macri was more euphoric: “What happened today has changed the political history of the country.”