March 8, 2021

The Macri-Fernández dispute monopolizes the two-week polls of the primary

A little more than two weeks before the Argentine primary elections, which in practice will serve as a great survey for the October presidential elections, the polls show a scenario in which only the Peronist Alberto Fernández or the current president, Mauricio Macri, have winning options

On one side of the "round", and with an advantage more or less adjusted depending on each measurement, is the Peronism sector composed of ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015), who opts for the vice presidency, and in the another the official proposal, whose image goes back after months in fall due to the economic crisis that the country has been experiencing since 2018.

"The polarization is already a fact, so the key will be how many votes of the undecided and minority parties can obtain Macri and Fernández in a ballot (second round)," says a consultant Balanz, specialized in the financial industry.

On August 11, in the primary, open, simultaneous and mandatory, known as STEP, will be enabled lists that will compete in the general elections of October 27, which will win the one that reaps more than 45% of votes or at least 40% and a difference greater than 10 points compared to the formula that follows.

If not, the new president for the period 2019-2023 will leave a second round on November 24, in which only the two most voted lists in the first will participate.

As no alliance decided to present more than one formula of candidates for president and vice president to the August PASSES, there will be no real competition in that first instance and each list should only exceed 1.5 of the votes to reach the first round.

At this stage of the campaign, the Fernandez Front of All is taken for granted; Together For the Change of Macri and his second – the Peronist Miguel Ángel Pichetto – and the Federal Consensus 2030 of the also Peronist Roberto Lavagna and the governor of the province of Salta, Juan Manuel Urtubey – considered the 'third way' -, will pass the Test without inconvenience.

Most of the polls place Alberto and Cristina Fernández in the first place, although at a distance from the government that is gradually shrinking, leaving Lavagna and the parties located on the right or left, which in Argentina are far behind minority

"Those who embody that purported polarization ruled the last 12 years with disastrous results: catastrophic recession, unemployment, widespread poverty, unusual inflation and unpayable indebtedness," Lavagna said this week, whose main asset is to attract those who don't want to "go back to the past." nor continue with a "frustrating present".

For example, Management & Fit (M&F), one of the main consultants, points out that although in May the Fernández outperformed Macri-Pichetto by nine points, the gap narrowed to only three in June and 1.7 in early July (39.9% vs. 38.2% of the votes).

The relative improvement of some indicators – activity grew in May by 2.6% year-on-year, the first positive figure after a year in recession, the stability achieved in the exchange rate and a slowdown in the still high inflation in June – is considered one of the key factors in favor of Macri.

"The STEP will show a photo and from there I think it will polarize more. The risk today of the election is that they are very close to 45% (which would prevent a second round) either," he says to Efe Mariel Fornoni, partner of M&F, wants to point out that today the vote is very decided and there are barely five points of undecided.

Alberto Fernández puts the complicated economy and social situation at the center of his speech, with 32% poverty, 10.1% unemployment and the fall in consumption.

"What is in debate are two country models: the one that vacates people, closes businesses, generates poverty and does not contain inflation; or create a productive country, where SMEs re-open blinds and workers recover work "said Fernandez this Friday.

Meanwhile, the president emphasizes the hope of the future that he believes has opened his management and insists on the dangers that the return to the "past" would represent, which in his opinion would represent a triumph of Kirchnerist Peronism.

"This small recovery that we are having month after month has not yet reached many, and that recovery will be consolidated when we clear a great uncertainty that exists in the world with respect to us, and you know what it is," Macri said in one of the so many public works openings that he leads.

And that doubt is, he stressed, if the country is going to "go back" or will "finish crossing the river and embrace the future forever."

Rodrigo Garcia

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