Many times we wonder how the rest of the worls sees us from abroad. Many of us, doesn’t want to know the true answer but I like this NYtimes’ article on yesterday elections here.
Argentina’s Ruling Party Concedes Electoral Defeat
By ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO
Published: June 29, 2009
BUENOS AIRES — Néstor Kirchner, the former president and head of the governing Peronist Party, conceded defeat early Monday in critical congressional elections that became a referendum on his
Just after 2 a.m., a weary Mr. Kirchner told supporters, “We have lost and we don’t have any problem recognizing our opponents’ victory,” as results indicated the party had lost control of both houses of Congress.
With 74 percent of votes counted in the key Buenos Aires Province elections, Mr. Kirchner’s Front for Victory coalition had 32.1 percent of the vote, trailing the Union-PRO party led by Francisco de Narváez, a congressman and businessman, with 34.5 percent.
Mr. Kirchner, who as president guided the country out of its devastating economic crisis of 2001, ran for the lower house of Congress as part of an effort to save the Peronists from a humiliating defeat in Sunday’s elections. Without a first-place finish, the chances that the couple will continue their political dynasty in the 2011 presidential elections will dim badly, political and investment-risk analysts said.
“If Kirchner loses in Buenos Aires, that would require a lot of rethinking about how they are going to manage to stay in control,” said Federico Thomsen, an economist and political analyst in Buenos Aires.
There has been widespread speculation that Mrs. Kirchner could resign or call early elections if her husband lost in Buenos Aires. But that decision could be tough to swallow for the president because it would mean ceding power to Julio Cobos, the vice president who defied her by siding with farmers in a key Senate vote last year.
Analysts had expected the Kirchners to lose control of both houses of Congress, complicating their ability to continue their socialist policies, which have included providing heavy subsidies for food and fuel, and the recent nationalizations of Argentina’s largest airline and of private pension funds.
With Mrs. Kirchner’s popularity dipping badly in rural provinces, where she has waged a protracted battle with farmers over agricultural tax policies, Mr. Kirchner decided to run for the lower house of Congress in Buenos Aires Province, which represents 37 percent of the country’s total voters.
Mrs. Kirchner pushed Congress to move up the congressional elections by four months to June, a move that she said would avoid complicating voters’ lives later in the year, when she expected the global financial crisis to hit Argentina badly. Analysts said it appeared to have been an attempt to catch the opposition off guard.
The Peronists realized that even Mr. Kirchner’s presence on the ticket would not be enough to guarantee a victory in Buenos Aires Province. So party leaders obligated dozens of city councilmen, as well as the governor of Buenos Aires, Daniel Scioli, to run on the ticket with Mr. Kirchner. Mr. Scioli and others are viewed to be “testimonial candidates” who will not actually end up assuming the jobs to which they would be elected and would instead remain in their current posts, a controversial practice here that has not been challenged.
The use of testimonial candidates, along with Mr. Kirchner’s decision to run himself, were “signs of the weakness” of Mrs. Kirchner, who has struggled to garner more than 30 percent support in opinion polls, said Graciela Römer, a political analyst here.
“It is well-established now that the Kirchner era is ending,” Ms. Römer said.
In another critical race, Carlos Reutemann, a former governor of Santa Fe Province, was neck-in-neck with candidates supported by Hermes Binner, the current governor of Santa Fe. With 74 percent of the votes counted, Mr. Reutemann had 39.84 percent compared to 39.85 for Mr. Binner’s candidates.
Mr. Reutemann, who split from the Kirchners, is still among the more popular Peronists and was thought to be the next-best hope for the Peronists to hold onto the presidency in the 2011 election.
Candidates supported by the Kirchners were also losing in Mr. Kirchner’s home state of Santa Cruz. With 71 percent of votes counted, they were trailing with 41.2 percent of the vote, compared to 42.5 percent for their opponents.
Vinod Sreeharsha contributed reporting.