Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez & Cristina Kirchner crush President Macri in ‘preliminary elections’

Mauricio Macri Vs Alberto Fernandez Presidential Primaries Take Off in Argentina

Pro-business President Mauricio Macri predicted worse would follow after Argentina's peso and the Buenos Aires stock exchange plummeted Monday following his crushing defeat by populist candidate Alberto Fernandez in a party primary election. Other emerging market currencies also reacted similarly with the Brazilian real and the Turkish lira both losing more than 1% against the dollar. There could be an even stronger degree of market volatility if final results show that Fernandez has enough support to clinch the presidency in October's first round, analysts said.

To be elected president in the first round, candidates need to finish with at least 45% of the votes or have 40% and a greater than 10-point advantage over the nearest rival.

Since all major parties have already selected their presidential candidates and political parties hold their primaries simultaneously, the vote served as a pre-election opinion poll to gauge how candidates will fare in the presidential election of October 27 and the potential November 24 run-off.

"It is a shocking and practically irreversible result, which leaves the government in a power vacuum in the middle of a very delicate economy", said Shila Vilker, an analyst with Argentine firm Trespuntozero.

Admitting that ruling Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) coalition had a "bad day", President Macri urged his supporters to redouble efforts from tomorrow to obtain the necessary support to win October elections.

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Voters were given a stark choice: stay the course of painful austerity measures under Macri or a return to interventionist economics. Yet Macri is hoping some recent glimmers of economic revival are enough to encourage voters to stick with his free-markets reform agenda despite a painful recession and 55% inflation. "That's what this election is about", Mr. Macri told reporters at the voting station where he cast his ballot. "This is something that nobody expected".

Re-electing Mr. Macri would mean seeing through painful cuts in public spending as part of the $75-billion standby agreement he negotiated with the International Monetary Fund previous year.

However, unemployment and poverty have risen. Most Argentines blame the International Monetary Fund for encouraging policies that led to the country's worst economic crisis in 2001, which resulted in one of every five Argentines being unemployed and millions sliding into poverty.

Argentina is now in a recession and posted 22 per cent inflation for the first half of the year - one of the highest rates in the world.

"I am sure that today we Argentines begin to build a new history", Fernandez said on Sunday.

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