The ruling Peronist party in Argentina has been defeated in the mid-term elections in Buenos Aires and most of the country’s provinces. Thus, Peronism, represented by the Frente de Todos coalition, lost control of the Senate for the first time in almost 40 years.
Amid a deep economic crisis and uncontrolled inflation, the mid-term elections marked a resounding defeat for the progressive government of Alberto Fernandez.
With almost all the votes counted, the coalition formed by Peronists and other sectors of the Argentine left saw the 72-member Senate fall from 41 to 35 seats.
Peronism could also lose its position as the dominant bloc in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress.
According to local media reports, almost 24 hours after the end of the elections, 20 polls remain open, and the difference between the ruling party and the opposition is narrowing. If this is reversed, the Lower House would be equalized with 117 legislators for each bloc.
The decision is vote by vote, and there are still 20 ballot boxes to be opened in the province of former President Carlos Menem. However, if the trend of growth of the opposition is confirmed, it would radically change the discussion in the Chamber of Deputies.
The center-right opposition, which was heavily defeated in the presidential elections two years ago, won almost all the key elections on the legislative ballot.
Voters turned away from the government amid widespread discontent over a deepening economic crisis, out-of-control inflation, skyrocketing unemployment, increasing poverty, and a huge indebtedness that threatens to default the South American country’s economy.
In the country’s most populous province, Buenos Aires, which historically voted in favor of Peronism, some 39.8% of voters cast their ballots in favor of the opposition, with 38.5% supporting the ruling coalition, according to published results.
The Peronist government is usually criticized for making authoritarian and unanimous decisions without mediating with the opposition. Unfortunately, that’s been the case even on sensitive issues that may affect future generations. After losing its majority in the Senate, it will be forced to negotiate with opponents on all initiatives it sends to the legislature.
The result could also widen the fissures in the ruling coalition, particularly between the president and his powerful vice-president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, widow of former president Néstor Kirchner. The two have already had public disagreements over economic policies.
Resurgence of a traditionalist right wing in Argentina
With the economic crisis, insecurity, the population’s weariness from suffering the “longest quarantine in the world,” the constant pressure on the business and entrepreneurial sectors, a right-wing political sector representing the most traditional and libertarian values of the country has developed during the last few years.
Thus emerged, for example, La Libertad Avanza, a new emerging space led by Javier Milei, which needed to win two seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Yet, surprisingly, it managed to reach 17%, positioning itself as the third force in Argentina’s largest city.
Another libertarian coalition that competed in Buenos Aires, led by José Luis Espert, also surprised with more than 700 thousand voters favoring him. That allowed the sector to include three legislators in Congress for the first time.