On October 22, Argentines will vote for a third of the seats in the Senate (24 out of 72) and half of those in the Chamber of Deputies (127 out of 257). The vote will determine how much sway President Mauricio Macri’s reformist Let’s Change (Cambiemos) coalition will have in Congress. It may also mark the return of ex-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who’s running for a Senate seat in Buenos Aires province, representing 40 percent of the national electorate. While polls suggest a win for Let’s Change candidate and former Education Minister Esteban Bullrich, August 13 primaries, known as the PASO, showed a technical tie, with Fernández de Kirchner cinching 0.2 percent more votes.
In the end, it’s likely that both Bullrich and Fernández de Kirchner (often referred to as CFK) will snag seats. In the Argentine Senate, each province is represented by three officials, with the winning party taking two seats and the runner-up taking one. Meanwhile, going off PASO results, the Chamber of Deputies is likely to lean toward the governing coalition in Buenos Aires Province, where Let’s Change picked up the largest portion of votes (34.1 percent).
In the country as a whole, Let’s Change candidates received an average of 36 percent of primary votes, which, if repeated in the official election, would increase the party’s representation to 104 seats in the Chamber and to 26 in the Senate. In that case, the president’s coalition would seat a total of 27 more legislators than they have now, but still without a quorum in either house. On the other hand, the Peronists stand to lose some seats regardless, though kichneristas, who earned 21 percent of the vote nationally in the PASO, united with other Peronist parties could take 40 percent of the national vote and maintain their plurality at least in the Senate.
Less than a month out from the vote, we take a look at the scenario for legislative elections.