ARGENTINIAN President Mauricio Macri’s governing neoliberal Cambiemos coalition won strong support in early results from Sunday’s congressional elections and appears headed for its first legislative majority since he took office in 2015.
However, Mr Macri’s left-leaning predecessor Cristina Fernandez won a Senate seat for her return to politics.
Early returns pointed to victories for the governing coalition in most provinces, including Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Sante Fe and Mendoza — the four with the biggest populations.
Cambiemos won about 40 per cent of the vote while the
Front for Victory coalition, led by Ms Fernandez, trailed in second with over 30 per cent nationally.
Twenty-four of 72 Senate seats were at stake, as were 127 seats in the 257-member lower house Chamber of Deputies.
With an eye towards possibly standing in the 2019 presidential contest, Ms Fernandez was assured election to the Senate even though her party came second behind the coalition.
She lagged seven points behind the government’s candidate Esteban Bullrich.
Two of the three Senate seats elected in the Buenos Aires region went to the party with most votes, while the third was reserved for the second-placed party.
Ms Fernandez told her United Citizens movement that it had “emerged as the firmest opposition” to the Macri government, which she accused of “being capable only of causing pain to the immense majority of the country.”
She admonished former party members who had broken ranks, insisting that her new “national and popular” political outfit was “here to stay.”