Argentine Politics: Macri’s victory a blow to Cristina?

2011 is an electoral year for Argentina and the question is whether the widow president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s approval ratings will remain at the current 45 percent to allow her to win her reelection bid next October 23. Argentines will go to the polls at least five times by year’s end to cast their votes in state primaries, national primaries, governor and state legislator elections, city and city legislators elections, presidential and mid-term congressional elections, and run-off elections for governors, the mayor of the city of Buenos Aires, and presidential elections.

This is certainly a busy electoral year. Each of the five elections is a stress test for kirchenerismo and Fernandez’s presidential bid. While the outcome of elections in the provinces of Tierra del Fuego, La Rioja, Misiones, Neuquén, Salta y Catamarca showed strong support for Fernandez de Kirchner’s candidates, the support Mauricio Macri received in the city of Buenos Aires in his reelection bid as mayor evidenced an expected and significant blow to Fernandez’s camp. True, voters in Buenos Aires do not behave like voters in the rest of Argentina and the comfortable victory by Macri’s party, Propuesta Republicana (PRO), over Danile Filmus last Sunday does not guarantee a strong performance by Cristina Fernandez’s competitors next October. A run-off election between Macri and Filmus is scheduled for June 31. However, PRO’s performance signals concerns for Cristina Fernadez’s kirchenerismo camp.

For one, PRO’s 20 percent vote difference in the Buenos Aires election with Daniel Filmus, Cristina’s pick for mayor running under the Frente para la Victoria (FPV) banner, shows PRO’s consolidation in one of Argentina’s most important political Continue reading