Argentina: Both major political parties poised to share Lower House power
Argentina’s opposition party Together for a Change (Juntos por el Cambio – JxC – or simply “Juntos”) has won six out of eight Senatorial elections Sunday, which means the ruling Everybody’s Front (Frente de Todos – FdT) will lose President Alberto Fernández’s coalition a majority of its own at the Upper House as of Dec. 10.
But when it comes down to the House of Deputies, things were not so clear as counting continued Monday morning and in the afternoon projections showed each group with end up with 117 lawmakers each with over 98% of the votes counted.
Back to the Senate, the FdT has lost 9 of the 15 Senate seats at stake – 5 to JxC and the other one to Córdoba’s rogue version of Peronism. Thus, the FdT will shrink from 41 senators to 35, when 37 are required to have a quorum of its own, while JxC was renewing 9 seats and got 14 for a total of 31 representatives at the Upper House, which will also feature six members from provincial parties with no federal representation in other districts, which anticipates intense bargaining.
Under the Argentine Constitution, the Senate is chaired by the Vice President who usually does not have a vote unless the house is deadlocked.
Pivotal to the final composition of the Lower House is the province of La Rioja. With 98.92% of the votes counted UCR (JxC ally) candidate, Juan Amado was 13 votes short of being elected. If that turns out to be the case, the FdT would lose its status as first minority and both political forces would have 117 deputies each.
In La Rioja, the FdT improved its performance from September 12’s Mandatory, Simultaneous and Open Primary (PASO) elections and obtained 56.06% of the votes, while JxC fell six points down to 27.99%. At the country level, Juntos garnered 38.08% of the votes for Deputies, while the FdT obtained 30.06%. Juntos has also prevailed at die-hard Kirechnerite disctricts such as Santa Cruz and La Pampa, in addition to swing provinces such as Entre Ríos, Chubut, Corrientes, Jujuy and Misiones. Provincial parties also won in Río Negro and Neuquén.