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15 Aug 04:14 AM UTC

Argentina: Ruling, opposition coalitions tie in August 13 primary election /update 1

August 13 primary election results in virtual tie between Macri’s ruling coalition and ex-President Fernandez’s opposition party

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/22/2017, 5:00 AM until 10/22/2017, 5:00 AM (America/Buenos_Aires).

COUNTRY/REGION Argentina

Event

Argentina's primary election, held on Sunday, August 13, to determine candidates for Argentina's October 2017 midterm elections, resulted in a virtual tie between President Mauricio Macri's ruling political coalition Let's Change (Cambiemos) and ex-President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner's Citizen Unity (Unidad Ciudadana) party, with each earning 34.19 and 34.11 percent of the provisional vote count, respectively. Given the margin of victory, an official count is expected to be ordered and the final results will likely be announced ten days after the recount begins on August 15.

The tie has been seen as a significant victory for Macri and his coalition, strengthening the president's position in legislative negotiations going forward; Fernandez was widely expected to beat the ruling coalition candidate, former Education Minister Esteban Bullrich. By finishing second in the vote, however, Fernandez will qualify to run for a Senate seat in the election in October, which many believe could pave the way for another presidential run in 2019.

Context

Campaigning for the October 22 midterm elections began on July 14 throughout Argentina. A total of 24 national senators and 127 national deputies (a third of the senate and half of the Chamber of Deputies) will be selected from across the country. Analysts have painted the upcoming elections as especially significant in light of ongoing political and social turmoil that has affected the country in recent years. Opposition parties are likely to gain significant ground and the most disputed area is likely to be the province of Buenos Aires, the largest electoral district in the country where approximately one-third of the population lives.

Sociopolitical tensions have been on the rise in Argentina since current (conservative) President Mauricio Macri took office in December 2015, with an uptick in anti-government protests and strikes observed in recent months. While the majority of demonstrations in Argentina take place without major incident, larger ones can result in major traffic chaos that can significantly disrupt daily life. Clashes with security forces and other low-intensity violence occasionally occur.

Advice

Individuals in Argentina are advised to monitor the situation, avoid any protests or political gatherings, and refrain from discussing sensitive political topics in public.