Argentina underwent its Open Primary Legislative Elections, called PASO, which are compulsory for both parties and for voters, to determine the candidates for the General Legislative Election that will take place on November 14th. Last Sunday, the candidates of all parties were submitted to the popular vote. Each citizen has only one vote, and they can either show support for a party, or support one of the factions within one of the parties. The objective of the election is to establish whether some smaller parties have sufficient support to pass the threshold (1.5%) to be a candidate in the legislative elections and to partake in some larger coalitions, such as “Juntos por el Cambio.” It includes IDU member Republican Proposal (PRO). This process helps to define the strongest candidates and get a measure of the amount of support they have.
Every two years, Argentina chooses half of its deputies and a third of its Senate. Given that this takes place in the middle of the presidential term, it is often interpreted as a referendum on the president’s approval. This helps the government refine its goals and redefine its priorities. With this in mind, we can say that Alberto Fernandez’s presidency was given a strong blow and will be thinking hard about the two remaining years of his term. Before this, we must recall that Alberto Fernandez won with 48% of the popular vote in 2019, held had a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and could pass legislation with help from smaller parties and governors who have influence over certain deputies and senators.
On a national level, Juntos por el Cambio won with 40% of the popular vote over the President’s party, which accounted for the 31% of the votes, with the remaining votes scattered among smaller parties. The president addressed this loss and said: “We made mistakes and we have to learn from this.” The hardest hit came from the “the mother of all battles” in the province of Buenos Aires – a historic Peronist stronghold in which almost 70% of Argentina’s population resides – where Fernandez’s party lost by four percentage points while expecting to win by more than five.
In addition, there were other Peronist districts that changed colours in favour of the opposition, such as Corrientes, Chaco, La Pampa, Chubut, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego. Moreover, they lost by between 2% and 25% points in every province (except one) – even in those they won before – and by 12,98% overall at the national level, leaving the government in an extremely weak position. There is expectation of changes in his cabinet to overcome this blow.
On the other hand, “Juntos por el Cambio” moves with a blissful caution, understanding that this victory is a product of the people’s exhaustion after the crisis of Covid-19 and the longest quarantine in the world, which put an already fragile economy into a deep recession. Argentineans are tired, and they want to hold the government accountable and limit its power in Congress. Their desire is to hold the government responsible and try to lower the fiscal pressure over private work, hoping to see some economic growth and more jobs after four years of economic crisis.
IWDU Vice Chairwoman Sofía Brambilla achieved an outstanding result in this election, securing her reelection with 58.96% of the votes in her district in the province of Corrientes. She is pleased to have gained four more years working for women and the producers of her district, hoping to hold Peronism accountable, and happy at the prospects this election represents for the future of her party and her country: “We are seeing a change in the heart of the people in Argentina, they are hoping to see less taxes, more jobs and less government assistance. They are saying enough and want to see changes in politics and their promises. I am hopeful that this time we will be capable to represent the change they are asking for.”
Nevertheless, this is a partial victory that leaves the government weakened and with a solid opposition. It remains to be seen whether Juntos por el Cambio can manage to repeat these results in November.