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  • President Mauricio Macri inside the National Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 13, 2019.

    President Mauricio Macri inside the National Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 13, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 June 2019

Right-wing losses at local level linked to fall in President Mauricio Macri's popularity as recession, unemployment worsen.

Results from Argentina's subnational-level elections over the past two Sundays show that right-wing parties supported by President Mauricio Macri's Cambiemos won in only one province while the opposition, coalesced around competing candidates Alberto Fernandez and Cristina Fernandez-Kirchner (CFK), achieved nine victories.

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Although Gerardo Morales who backs Macri was re-elected in one of the poorest Argentinian provinces, Jujuy, supporters of Macri lost in the provinces of San Juan, Chubut, Misiones, La Pampa, Neuquen, Santa Fe, Tucuman, Entre Rios and Rio Negro.

Voters in these provinces scattered across the country chose Peronist-allied parties like Sergio Uñac, Oscar Herrera, Gustavo Bordet, Arabela Carreras, Sergio Ziliotto, Mariano Arcioni and Omar Gutierrez, who won in Neuquen. Socialist Juan Manzur, former health minister to CFK, was also elected as governor to the north's Tucuman province.​​​​​​​

Local media says Manzur was rallying last week with Alberto Fernandez and former president Cristina Kirchner-Fernandez who announced their joint bid for president and vice president, respectively, in the upcoming October elections. President Macri hasn't formally announced he's running, but is expected to be incumbent in the race. 

The electoral loss of right-wingers is linked to the fall in Macri's popularity and credibility levels. According to a poll by the Center for Public Opinion Studies (CEOP), most voters believe Cambiemos and the current administration are the cause of the country's deteriorating economy whose inflation rate has hovered around 54 percent for the past year, the highest since 1991.​​​​​​​

"About 63.1 percent of Argentines are convinced that unemployment increased since Cambiemos took power. ... This is combined with the fact that 9 out of 10 Argentines are worried about the lack of jobs," the CEOP study reads. The authors added that six out of 10 respondents believe that poverty has increased since Macri became president.​​​​​​

It's not just public perception. The Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) found last March that poverty had risen 4.7 percentage points over 2018's 26.6 percent, the highest the university had ever registered.

Nevertheless, in Cordova, the country's second largest province, Juan Schiaretti said he would support Macri in the upcoming presidential elections. The incumbent was re-elected governor last weekend.

The elections in the province of Buenos Aires will be held Oct. 27, the same day that Argentines will elect a president and lawmakers.

"Whoever wins in Buenos Aires, which has more than twelve million voters, will probably win it all," El Pais newpaper commented and indicated that Governor Maria Eugenia Vidal of Cambiemos will compete for her reelection against leftist and former economy minister, Axel Kicillof.

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