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.”
The two will face off in the first presidential runoff in Argentinian history. The third-place finisher, congressman Sergio Massa, who garnered 21.3% of votes, could play a kingmaker’s role if he throws his support behind either candidate.
On Sunday, Massa gave no indication which, if either, candidate he would support, saying only that after meeting with his closest advisors, he will release a document in the coming days with his proposals for the next president.
One reflection of the disappointing results for the president was that Anibal Fernandez, her Cabinet chief and handpicked candidate to replace Scioli as Buenos Aires state governor, lost by 5 percentage points to Macri ally Maria Eugenia Vidal.