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Cablegate: Near-Complete Election Results Confirm Impressive

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UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002139

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM ECON AR
SUBJECT: NEAR-COMPLETE ELECTION RESULTS CONFIRM IMPRESSIVE
VICTORY BY CRISTINA KIRCHNER, ARGENTINA'S NEXT PRESIDENT

REF: BUENOS AIRES 2126

1. (SBU) Summary: As of October 29, with ballots from
approximately 96.5% of the voting stations tallied, Senator
and First Lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) maintains
an insurmountable lead in the presidential race with 44.91%
of the total vote. Second-place finisher, center-left
candidate Elisa Carrio conceded the race six-and-a-half hours
after the polls closed, but vowed to assume the role of
leader of Argentina's political opposition. The press
reports that CFK has taken congratulatory calls so far from
Lula, Hugo Chavez, Nicanor Duarte, Michelle Bachelet, and
Rafael Correa. As predicted by local polls leading to the
election, Kirchner's Victory Front party (FPV) held its
majority in the Senate and gained control of the Chamber of
Deputies. End Summary.

----------------
Kirchner Victory
----------------

2. (SBU) As of 2:00 pm local time on October 29, Senator and
First Lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) maintains an
insurmountable lead in the presidential race with 44.91%
(8,197,756) of the total vote. Just under 94% of the total
votes were cast for a specific candidate; about 5% were
blank, 1.12% were invalid, and 0.18% were duplicates.

3. (SBU) The second-place finisher, center-left candidate
Elisa Carrio conceded the race at approximately 1:35 am local
time on the morning of October 29, but said she will continue
as the leader of the Argentine political opposition. She
received 22.96% of the vote (i.e., 4,188,660 ballots).
Ex-Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna received 16.89% or
3,081,922 votes to finish in third place, a showing that was
widely viewed as a disappointment. San Luis Governor Alberto
Rodriguez Saa finished with 7.72% or 1,407,652 votes,
approximately what local polls had predicted he would
receive. The ten other presidential candidates each received
less than 2% of the total votes.

4. (SBU) According to local press reports, CFK has taken
congratulatory calls so far from Brazil's Lula da Silva,
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Paraguay's Nicanor Duarte-Frutos,
Chile's Michelle Bachelet, and Ecuador's Rafael Correa. The
Brazilian Ambassador (protect) told the Ambassador that Lula
plans to attend the December 10 inauguration of CFK and a
farewell dinner for Nestor Kirchner on December 9.

--------------
Senate Results
--------------

5. (SBU) As predicted by local polls leading to the
election, Kirchner's Victory Front party (FPV) maintained its
majority position in the Argentine Senate. According to
local newspaper estimates of the final seat distribution, the
FPV defended its twelve seats in question in the Senate and
picked up one more, giving the party 41 total seats out of
72. The FPV is also expected to enjoy the support of another
seven non-FPV senators who are considered to be reliable
Kirchner allies. Carrio's Civic Coalition was the election's
surprise, winning four new senate seats for a total
representation of five. The Radical Civic Union (UCR), which
backed Lavagna, lost five seats for a total of 10.
Meanwhile, the dissident Peronist lost seats, reducing their
representation to four seats. Other local and provincial
parties share the remaining nine seats.

6. (SBU) Eight provinces had Senate elections: the
Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Chaco, Entre Rios, Neuquen,
Rio Negro, Salta, Santiago del Estero, and Tierra del Fuego.
Each province has three representatives in the Senate: two
from the majority political party and one from the minority
party that wins the most votes. Terms in the Senate are for
six years, with elections every two years to renew one-third
of the seats. There are no restrictions on repeated
reelection. The vice president serves as the president of
the Senate and has the tie-breaking vote. According to the
Argentine Constitution, candidates for the Argentine Senate
must: be at least 30 years old, have been a citizen of
Argentina for six years, and be native to the province of
his/her office (or have been a resident of that province for
two years).

---------------------------
Chamber of Deputies Results
---------------------------

7. (SBU) According to local newspaper estimates of how the
complicated D'Hondt formula would affect distribution of the
130 seats that were up for grabs in the Chamber of Deputies,
the FPV (including allied Radicals, socialists, and others)
gained 20 seats, giving it control of 131 seats, just over
the quorum level of 129. In addition to the 131 FPV
deputies, however, another 29 deputies in the Chamber are
considered Kirchner allies, giving CFK a comfortable majority
of the 258 votes in the Chamber. Carrio's Civic Coalition is
expected to gain 19 seats for a total of 27. Lavagna-backed
candidates are estimated to have lost 7 seats, bringing the
UCR's totals down to 30 representatives (meaning that, for
all the Radicals' troubles, they remain the second biggest
bloc in the Chamber). Rodriguez Saa and the dissident
Peronists are expected to have lost 15 seats for a total of
36 total seats for the incoming Chamber of Deputies. Buenos
Aires Mayor-elect Mauricio Macri's PRO party is predicted to
lose 11 seats for a new total of 13. The remaining 25 seats
are divided among provincial and local parties.

8. (SBU) Representation in the Chamber of Deputies
(Argentina's Congressional Lower House) is based on
provincial population. Provinces receive one deputy for each
161,000 inhabitants. The distribution of seats per province
has not been adjusted since 1983 and is based on the 1980
census. Buenos Aires province has 70 deputies; Buenos Aires
City 25; Santa Fe 19; Cordoba 18; Mendoza 10; Entre Rios and
Tucuman each have 9; Chaco, Corrientes, Missiones, Salta and
Santiago del Estero each have 7; Jujuy and San Juan have 6
each; and Chubut, Formosa, La Pampa, La Rioja, Neuquen, Rio
Negro, San Luis, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego each have 5
deputies. Deputy terms are for four years and are elected by
the D'Hondt formula of proportional representation.
According to the Argentine Constitution, candidates for the
Argentine Chamber of Deputies must be at least 25 years old,
have been a citizen of Argentina for four years, and be
native of the province of his/her office (or have been a
resident of that province for two years). There are no
restrictions on repeated reelection. Political parties must
receive a three percent minimum of the national vote to
receive a seat in the Chamber of Deputies.

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

8. (SBU) CFK is surely comforted by the knowledge that her
FPV has a simple majority in both houses of Congress. Even
more important, however, is the magnitude of her almost
22-percentage-point victory over her nearest rival, which
equals the total number of votes won by her husband in the
first -- and ultimately only -- round of the last Argentine
presidential election. Cristina's convincing electoral
triumph should strengthen her political hand, providing her
with the political capital she desperately needs to tackle
the many policy challenges that confront her government.

KELLY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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