Argentina election gives president a legislative majority

Photo President Mauricio Macri of Argentina sharing a selfie with a supporter after casting his vote in midterm elections in Buenos Aires on Sunday. Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will have a seat in the country's senate, as the preliminary results published on the Election Commission's website show. With an eye toward a possible run in the 2019 presidential contest, Fernandez was assured election to the Senate even though her party came in second behind Macri's coalition.

Esteban Bullrich, Macri's former education minister, had 42.9 percent of the vote counted compared with 35.9 percent for Fernandez in the province that is home to almost 40 percent of voters.

Aside from Buenos Aires province and city, Cambiemos candidates also polled strongly across the other major electoral centres - Cordoba, Mendoza and Santa Fe.

Yet a resounding victory for Mr. Macri's coalition in Buenos Aires Province would be interpreted as a clear endorsement of his government and would give him the political capital to push forward with economic changes that Mrs. Kirchner has said would hurt the poor and middle class. One third of the Senate and half of the house were elected, and Macri's coalition will not have a majority.

She has been charged with illicit association and fraudulent administration.

Kirchner said her new centre-left Unidad Ciudadana or "Citizen's Unity" party had distinguished itself in the vote as the only alternative to Macri's government.

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Critics say Fernandez's growth-at-all-costs policies stoked inflation and distorted the economy through heavy-handed currency controls.

Bullrich and Fernandez were tied in a non-binding primary in August but Bullrich pulled ahead in polls soon after, helped by a burst of economic growth as Fernandez failed to unify the Peronist opposition behind her. Her politics moderated with the return of democracy in Argentina.

Another ex-president, Carlos Menem, won a third term in the Senate at the age of 87, giving himself another four years of immunity despite being convicted for illegally trading weapons to Ecuador and Croatia.

"People are more confident in the future, the economy, in making investments".

"An Argentine with desire has no limits, we are unstoppable", he said.

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