News Blog

Millions vote in crucial Argentina mid-term election


Millions vote in crucial Argentina mid-term election

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Macri's coalition controls less than one-third of the Senate

Polls have closed in Argentina in congressional elections that could give President Mauricio Macri crucial support for his pro-market reforms.

Turnout was high across the country, with more 78% of registered voters taking part.

A third of seats in the Senate are being contested, along with half of those in the lower house of congress.

Mr Macri was elected by a narrow margin two years ago and he doesn't have an outright majority.

A strong showing would enable him to complete his economic and institutional reforms.

More than 33 million Argentines are eligible to vote.

'Anti-people policies'

The most closely-watched race is in the province of Buenos Aires where the centre-left former President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is standing for the senate.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Fernandez is running for one of the 24 Senate seats being contested

"Cristina (Fernandez) is the only alternative we have to put a halt to Macri's anti-people policies," Graciela Mantilla, a 60-year-old housewife in Buenos Aires province told Reuters news agency.

Ms Fernandez has been critical of Mr Macri's record in office, saying his policies have increased poverty and inequality in Argentina.

But sceptics say she is running for the Senate to get immunity from prosecution for the next six years.

She has been charged with illicit association and fraudulent administration.

She has repeatedly denied the charges and said that illicit association "is a legal concept that has been used by all dictatorships to persecute their political opponents".

Ms Fernandez served two terms from 2007 to December 2015. She succeeded her husband, the late Nestor Kirchner, who was in power from 2003 to 2007.

'No sign of violence'

The campaign was also dominated by the disappearance of an indigenous activist in Patagonia on 1 August, which shocked the country and soon became highly politicised.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Santiago Maldonado went missing after an indigenous rights protest in Patagonia

The body of Santiago Maldonado, 28, was discovered on Tuesday in a river close to the place where he went missing after a confrontation between police and activists.

Forensic experts formally identified the body on Friday. They said he drowned and there was no sign of violence.

The opposition and Mr Maldonado's family blamed security agents for his death and accused the government of Mauricio Macri of covering up the crime.

After voting on Sunday morning, Mr Macri asked for calm while investigations proceed.

Source –

Leave a Comment