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.
As Mark Jones describes in a recent post, Macri ended up with 34.3 percent of the vote, just 2.6 points behind Scioli. He’s the one with the campaign momentum going into the Nov. 22 runoff election, which will select the next president.
Nevertheless, suspicions of fraud arose after the polling stations closed, when the authorities were delayed in releasing the results.
Many people became particularly skeptical about the election’s integrity during September’s municipal elections in the northern province of Tucumán. There, the opposition claimed that more than 40 ballot boxes were torched. Those events, combined with widespread allegations of vote buying, prompted many to speculate seriously about wrongdoing. The opposition claimed that the election was fraudulent; authorities denied it. And nobody can be certain about who’s telling the truth.