Alberto Fernandez holds a 20-point lead in most opinion polls after thumping Macri in an August primary.
Argentines headed to the polls on Sunday, after a year of twists and turns in a dramatic election race that has been chastening for conservative President Mauricio Macri, who trails well behind Peronist rival Alberto Fernandez in opinion polls.
Around the country, in an overcast Buenos Aires, amid the Pampas farmlands and the vineyards of Mendoza, polling stations opened their doors at 8 a.m.
Voting ended at 6 p.m. local time and local media said first official results were expected by 9:00 p.m. local time.
The ballot - which many have already called for Fernandez - is effectively a referendum between Macri's austerity and the "social contract" of the left-leaning opposition, who have attracted voters who have been hurt badly by the Macri's neoliberal model that led to the most severe economic crisis in decades.
Argentina's choice could have far-reaching implications: it is one the world's top grain exporters, is stirring the energy world with its huge Vaca Muerta shale field and is on the cusp of restructuring talks with creditors over US$100 billion in debt.
Fernandez, a relative unknown until this year outside Argentine political circles, holds a 20-point lead in most opinion polls after thumping Macri in an August primary.
The economy has taken center stage with the country in the grip of recession for most of the last year, the outlook for growth darkening, annual inflation over 50 percent, job numbers down and poverty up sharply.
The conservative incumbent won backers with plans to reform Argentina's notoriously closed economy with trade deals and a successful push to lure foreign investment into energy projects and infrastructure.
The rival candidates need 45 percent of the vote or 40 percent with a 10-point lead over the runner-up to avoid a second round, which if needed would be held on Nov. 24.
Voters will choose presidential candidates, along with deputies, senators, governors and local leaders.
Update 6:01 p.m.
Polls have officially closed across Argentina. The electoral authorities, however, assured in a tweet that those who are still queuing at polling stations will be able to complete their vote beyond 6:00 p.m..
Update 5:30 p.m.
With less than 30 minutes until the end of voting in the presidential elections, the country's electoral authority said that over 70 percent of the electorate has cast their vote.
"Everyone ready in the electoral HQ of the Front of All party, ready to follow the vote count of this historic presidential election. @alferdez and @CFKArgentina will be present later. A rally of supporters will gather outside 'Cultural Center C' #ArgentinaDecide" https://t.co/ABsI900cW8— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 27, 2019
Update 4:20 p.m.
Argentina's electoral authority announces that over 60 percent of eligible voters have already voted.
Update 4:10 p.m.
Argentina's leading presidential candidate @alferdez:— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 27, 2019
"Today is also the birthday today of my friend @LulaOficial
, an extraordinary man who has been unjustly imprisoned for a year and a half.
Happy Birthday, dear Lula. I hope to see you soon.#LulaLivre" https://t.co/7ap1oVVAxO
Update 2:30 p.m.
The average voter turnout in the 2015 run-off election was 80.77%:
44% of the electorate has already voted in Argentina, these crucial elections will have consequences both at home and abroad, as Macri's neoliberal administration is set for defeat. #EleccionesArgentina2019 #ArgentinaVoto2019— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 27, 2019
live updates: https://t.co/n9ENUSEskx pic.twitter.com/Js0bNDgILX
Update 1:25 p.m.
Former president and current vice-presidential candidate Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has voted. She said it is an important day to celebrate the country's democracy.
Former leftist President Cristina Fernandez arrives to vote. During her time in office she nationalized the country's oil and extended social programs.— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 27, 2019
She's now the VP candidate to @alferdez who is leading the polls.#ArgentinaDecide
live updates: https://t.co/n9ENUSEskx pic.twitter.com/0bNtJgokGX
VP candidate @CFKArgentina spoke to press on the importance of today's historic elections in Argentina:— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 27, 2019
"It is an important day for democracy, especially for those who once did not have the opportunity to vote"#EleccionesArgentina2019
live updates: https://t.co/n9ENUSEskx https://t.co/ijxIeDsdfk
Update 12:20 p.m.
Presidential candidate and President Macri has voted.
Update 12:05 p.m.
Leading presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez exercised his right to vote. Speaking to media he called elections day a "historic day" for Argentina and said he looks forward to winning and starting plans for his potential government.
Presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez of the progressive 'Front for All' party has arrived and is queuing alongside citizens, ready to cast their ballot.— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 27, 2019
Polls show that he'll likely be the next president of Argentina. #ArgentinaDecide #ArgentinaVoto2019 pic.twitter.com/BkDPkhv16a
Update 11:50 a.m.
Update 11:40 a.m.
Leading presidential candidate Fernandez was seen walking his dog in the early hours of the morning as supporters took pictures and selfies with him. He is expected to win outright in the first round.
Update 8 a.m.
Polls open in Argentina in an election where voters choose between Macri's right-wing government or new model led by progressive Fernandez.