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Opposition Presidential Candidate Leading in Argentina's Sunday Primaries

Opposition Presidential Candidate Leading in Argentina's Sunday Primaries”

On Sunday, Macri told supporters the primary vote was a "bad election" for his coalition ahead of the official results.

The Argentine president said he was taking the necessary and painful steps to get the economy going after 12 years of populist policies under former President Cristina Fernandez and her predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner.

With the initial market reaction, the Argentinian peso came under strong selling pressure as markets Alberto Fernandez and his running mate, former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, reviving concerns that Macri's efforts to bring down the fiscal deficit will be reversed if Fernandez wins the election in October.

Newly impoverished Argentines may be more energized to vote to punish him at the polls, political analysts said.

The Fernandez ticket, whose two members are not related, contends Macri must be defeated to fight the poverty and homelessness that they blame on his policies.

"The president can not have peace of mind".

Poverty now affects 32 percent of the population.

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.

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The peso lost half of its value against the dollar previous year.

But the Buenos Aires stock exchange shot up eight percent on Friday amid expectation that Macri would do well in Sunday's vote.

Those hopes were quickly quashed as it lost 10 per cent when operations opened on Monday, before plunging further throughout the day.

"The vote shows a profound dissatisfaction with the economic situation (and) the worry within society that the government is disconnected from reality and wasn't up to tackling the problems", political analyst Carlos Fara told AFP.

Given that all of the recession-hit South American country's major parties have already chosen their presidential candidates, the primaries effectively served as a nationwide pre-election opinion poll.

In order to win the presidency outright, a candidate needs at least 45% of the vote or 40% and a difference of 10 percentage points over the second-place runner.

The first round of the presidential election will be held on October 27, with a run-off - if needed - set for November 24. "Argentinians realized we are the change not them", Fernandez said during his victory speech in Buenos Aires, promising "to end this time of lies and give a new horizon".

Analyst Rosendo Fraga said Macri and Fernandez need to come to a bipartisan "governability agreement", otherwise "it's going to be very hard to build confidence" in the markets between now and October's vote.



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