While default waits in the wings, the electorate voted for Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner by a 53% majority.
At The Atlantic, The Price of Argentina’s Default
In the news,
Argentine President Secures Second Term
President Cristina Kirchner had a commanding lead and looked certain to win a second term on Sunday, and her Peronist party faction appeared close to retaking Congress, in the most lopsided election in the almost three decades since Argentina returned to democracy.
With 90% of polling places reporting, Mrs. Kirchner had 53.74% of the vote, far ahead of the nearest of six competitors, the socialist governor of Santa Fe province, Hermes Binner, who had 17.01%.
Translation from the video, “Make no mistake, I’m not talking about him [Ernesto Kirchner] as a husband, I’m talking about him as a political framework, perhaps one of the best political frameworks our country has produced”, which is probably damning with faint praise.
She certainly benefited from two factors:
a. China’s demand for raw materials
b. Ernesto’s death a year ago,
The win would mark a dramatic comeback for Mrs. Kirchner, who has been embroiled in conflict almost since taking office in December 2007. Days after her inauguration, U.S. prosecutors in Miami alleged that a suitcase holding $800,000 seized by Argentine customs authorities earlier in 2007 was a contribution to Mrs. Kirchner’s campaign from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Mrs. Kirchner decried a “garbage operation” in the U.S., the first of several conflicts with Washington.
Subsequently, she was caught up in a bitter and debilitating dispute with Argentine farmers over an increase in the grain export tax. Her faction of the Peronist party lost control of Congress in midterm elections in 2009, and some political observers wrote her off.
Mrs. Kirchner came back, however. The economy recovered strongly from the global economic crisis of 2009-2009, as brisk demand from China buoyed farm commodity prices. The Kirchners proved adept at dividing and conquering the opposition, which was less adroit at advancing its agenda. Finally, the death of Nestor Kirchner of a heart attack at the age of 60 in October of 2010 created a wave of sympathy for Mrs. Kirchner.
Pollster Federico Aurelio said that in the wake of her husband’s death, Mrs. Kirchner’s approval rating, already on the ascent, shot up another 10 points or so. He says 70% of Argentines now approve of her.
It probably didn’t hurt to wear nice shoes.
The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean will resume next week.