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Cablegate: Exit Polls Say Cristina Kirchner Become

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FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9586
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6659
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RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
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UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002126

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AR
SUBJECT: EXIT POLLS SAY CRISTINA KIRCHNER BECOME
ARGENTINA'S FIRST ELECTED FEMALE PRESIDENT

REF: (A) BUENOS AIRES 02086 (B) BUENOS AIRES 2090

1. (SBU) Summary: According to exit polls and the partial
official vote tally, First Lady and Senator Cristina
Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) appears to have been voted the
next president of Argentina in the October 28 national
election. With 45.41% of the ballot boxes counted, CFK had a
preliminary 43.63% of the vote, over twenty points ahead of
the next candidate, Elisa Carrio. CFK claimed victory, and
several of her opponents conceded defeat (but, so far, likely
runner-up Carrio has not/not). According to press reports,
Brazilian President Lula da Silva and Uruguayan President
Vasquez have already called to congratulate CFK on her
presumed victory. Congressional results will take longer to
tally, in part because of the complicated formula used to
allocate seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Given Argentines'
tendency to vote straight party tickets, it appears likely
that Kirchner's Victory Front Party (FPV) consolidated its
control of Congress by sweeping the majority of the available
seats in both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. The
opposition, however, appeared to have done well in the big
cities. End Summary.

----------------------------
Preliminary Election Results
----------------------------

2. (U) Beginning at 1900 local time, the moment when the last
polling stations closed, media reported that exit polls
indicated that First Lady and Senator Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner had won the October 28 presidential election with
over 40% of the vote and more than a twenty-point lead over
the next candidate. Indeed, one major exit poll gave CFK
46.3% of the vote and only 23.7% to Elisa Carrio. The
official provisional count started trickling out after 2130
local time, and as of 0100 on October 29, with 45.14% of the
ballot boxes counted, CFK had a preliminary 43.63% of the
vote, over twenty points ahead of the next candidate --
currently Carrio in second place with 20.89% and Lavagna in
third with 18.95%. If confirmed with final tallies, CFK will
be the first elected female president of Argentina. (Juan
Domingo Peron's widow Isabel Peron, who was Vice President at
the time of his death, served as president from 1974-76. She
was overthrown by a military coup in March 1976.)

3. (U) According to preliminary results, the opposition did
very well in the Federal Capital, Cordoba and Rosario, while
CFK scored very strongly in Buenos Aires province, which
accounts for about 39% of the country's population.

4. (U) Around 2200 local time, CFK appeared at her bunker at
the Intercontinental Hotel and declared victory, saying "We
have won by a wide margin, perhaps the biggest margin between
first and second place since the return of democracy." She
said the elections represented a victory for all Argentines,
and that the margin of victory implied an even greater
responsibility for her. She invited political participation
by young people, regardless of their political affiliation.
She directed some words to her "sisters of gender," and
praised her husband, her "partner in life," noting that
thanks to his successful administration, she would assume the
presidency under much better circumstances than he did in
2003. She called for an end to hatred and rancor and called
for united efforts to build a new Argentina.

5. (U) Of a field of 14 candidates, all of CFK's major
opponents, including Roberto Lavagna (UNA), Alberto
Rodriguez-Saa (Frejuli), and Jorge Sobisch (MPU) have
conceded defeat. Likely second-place finisher Elisa Carrio,
as of midnight, has not/not conceded yet. Brazilian
President Lula da Silva and Uruguayan President Tabare
Vasquez reportedly called to congratulate CFK within hours of
the closing of polls (in Lula's case, within minutes).

-------------------
Congressional Races
-------------------

6. (SBU) Congressional results will take longer to tally, in
part because of the complicated D'Hont formula used to
allocate seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Given Argentines'
tendency to vote straight party tickets, it appears likely
that Kirchner's Victory Front Party (FPV) deepened its
control of Congress by sweeping the majority of the available
seats in both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. Prior to
this election, Kirchner's FPV held 41 out of 72 seats in the
Senate and 111 out of 258 seats in the Chamber of Deputies
(where it relied on shifting alliances to obtain
congressional majorities). The Chamber had 130 seats up for
grabs, and it was widely expected that enough FPV candidates
would ride CFK's coattails to give the FPV a majority in the
Chamber as well as the Senate. Septel will provide more
details on the congressional races.

---------------------
Opposition Complaints
---------------------

7. (SBU) In Argentina, political parties are responsible for
printing and providing ballots for their candidates. In the
voting booth, voters choose from stacks of ballots and insert
them in the envelopes that they deposit in the ballot box.
Voting across party lines is not a common practice, but to do
so, voters can clip the names of candidates from different
slates for the various offices at stake. Throughout the day,
there were reports that ballots were missing at some polling
stations, particularly opposition ballots. Media reports did
not attempt to quantify the scale of the problem, but
anecdotally there were reports from places throughout the
country of missing ballots, and party representatives filed
complaints with the authorities. In a press conference,
Interior Minister Anibal Fernandez asserted that, under
Argentine law, it was incumbent upon the political parties to
replenish their ballots at each polling station throughout
the country.

-------
Comment
-------

8. (SBU) Analysts and pollsters had predicted a Kirchner win
and an FPV majority in congress, and there were no big
surprises today, except perhaps the strong opposition showing
in major cities. CFK's victory over a divided opposition and
the FPV's consolidation of its control of Congress should
strengthen her claim to a strong mandate -- but that will
depend on how much above 40% her final tally is. (A first
round victory requires at least 40% of the vote plus at least
a ten-point lead over the runner-up.)

WAYNE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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