Election Setback Destroys Argentine Stocks, Currency

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

Argentine voters soundly rejected President Mauricio Macri's austere economic policies in primary elections on Sunday, casting serious doubt on his chances of re-election in October, early official results showed. The vote, however, is an opportunity to poll voters and determine potential front-runners in the future race.

Bonds and shares were also expected to fall after opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez - whose running mate is former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - dominated the primary by a wider-than-expected 15.5 percentage point margin.

Argentina's incumbent President and presidential candidate Mauricio Macri is seen on stage during the primary elections, at a convention centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 11, 2019.

Some 33 million Argentines are eligible to cast the compulsory vote, which will go on to a December runoff if none of the presidential candidates wins either 45% of votes or 40% with 10 points over the runner-up in the first round.

Macri succeeded her in office with pledges to boost the economy with liberal policies, but was forced to seek a record US$56-billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund and raise interest rates to more than 60 percent following a currency crisis previous year. Otherwise, a presidential runoff will be introduced on November 24.

The election functioned largely as a poll for the October vote. "We always fix the problems that others create". "We have come to give Argentina a better horizon", Fernandez said.

Some "47 percent (of the electorate) sent us a very clear message that we have to acknowledge and understand, especially the middle class, which evidently didn't feel taken care of", Frigerio told reporters.

More than 75 percent of Argentina's over 33,800,000 eligible voters turned out to vote on Sunday.

Argentina is in a deep recession, and inflation for the first six months of the year is at 22%.

Ever since taking office, Macri has blamed Argentina's economic woes on the policies enacted by three successive Kirchner governments - Cristina Kirchner's 2007-15 time in office was preceded by a single term for her late husband Nestor.

A poor showing for Argentina's President Mauricio Macri and a surge for his leftist opponent sparked fears of a possible default on the country's International Monetary Fund loans, sending the peso to its lowest level in almost two decades and causing a massive sell-off in the country's stock market. Investors nonetheless see the Fernandez/Kirchner duo as a riskier prospect than free-markets advocate Macri.

Macri, who assumed the presidency in 2015, won on a promise to boost the economy.

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