Saturday 20 January 2018

Shock as run-off to decide Argentine presidency

Argentina's ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli. Photo: Reuters
Argentina's ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli. Photo: Reuters

Harriet Alexander in Buenos Aires

Cristina Kirchner's chosen successor Daniel Scioli has failed to win outright in Argentina's presidential election, being forced into a run-off by businessman Mauricio Macri and sparking a crisis for "Kirchneristas".

Mr Scioli, the front runner for the whole campaign, had won 34.7pc of support. Mr Macri had triumphed with 36.2pc, sparking gasps of shock from the watching media and dancing among Mr Macri's supporters.

With almost 80pc counted Mr Scioli looked likely to edge to a slim victory, which would mark a deep disappointment for his team who expected to win comfortably.

Whoever now wins the second round will become the first president elected through a run-off in Argentine history.

The elections, which will end 12 years of rule by Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, will go into a second round on November 22 - sparking wild celebrations among Mr Macri's supporters.

"Who said we couldn't do it? #SecondRound," tweeted Laurita Alonso, one of Mrs Kirchner's fiercest critics.

Mr Scioli knew he was in for a tough race. A former speedboat racing world champion, who lost his right arm in a boating accident, he has been governor of Buenos Aires province since 2007, and was vice president before that.

Mr Macri, the current mayor of Buenos Aires, is the son of Italian immigrants who went on to run a prosperous business conglomeration, with interests in construction.

Kidnapped for ransom by corrupt police, it was then that he decided to go into politics, but not before becoming the most successful president of Boca Juniors football club in their history.

Irish Independent

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