Elections were held on October 22, 2017 in Argentina to appoint Senators and Deputies for the Argentine Congress. Approximately, one third of the seats at the Chamber of Senators and nearly one half of the seats at the Chamber of Deputies will be renewed during these elections.
President Mauricio Macri will seek to gain further control of Congress, as his party coalition, Cambiemos, does not
currently hold the majority of seats. Macri’s main opponent in these polarized elections is Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, candidate for Senator of the province of Buenos Aires.
Macri’s principal objectives in the upcoming elections are manifold: the subsequent elimination of export and import restrictions, reduction of government subsidies on prices of public services and the promotion of entrepreneurship and foreign investment. By implementing these center-right policies, the same policies which he ran on during his 2015 presidential campaign, Macri aims to further consolidate his party's power in Congress.
Kirchner and her party coalition, Frente de la Unidad Ciudadana, seek to stall the implementation of right-wing policies. Instead, they opt for policies that align with kirchnerism, a form of Peronism that is characterized by its opposition to neoliberal policies, industrialist developmentalism and by its encouragement of interregional trade within Latin America.
Kirchner thanked her supporters in Buenos Aires: “I have had all of the honors and positions thanks to you. I come to join this space. I come to dedicate my head, my body, and my heart.”
Despite the constitutional term limits prohibiting a third consecutive term, it has been suggested that Kirchner is planning on running for President for a third time. Amassing support as Senator of Buenos Aires over the next two years may possibly be enough to give Kirchner her third presidential victory in 2019.
These elections are by no means insular as they can potentially produce repercussions throughout the rest of Latin America. Following the end of the Cold War, Latin America experienced the Pink Tide, or Marea Rosa in Spanish, a political trend in Latin America that occurred at the turn of the millennial in which various left-wing leaders were elected as heads of state. This resulted in three quarters of the population of South America living in a country ruled by left-leaning presidents.
Many of these leftist rulers include Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Roussef of Brazil, Michelle Bachelet of Chile, and the Kirchners, both Néstor and Cristina of Argentina.
However, there has been a resurgence of rightist and center-rightist leaders, as seen in Paraguay with Horacio Cartes and in Argentina with Macri.
The end of the commodity boom has been described as being one of the reasons for the renewal of right-wing movements in Latin America. Latin America’s economies began to grow substantially at the turn of the 21st- century, giving way for more redistributive welfare policies. However, with low oil prices and a decreased growth rate, perhaps these policies are not as popular as they once were.
The election results will serve to indicate which way the political pendulum is swinging and will have a noteworthy effect on future elections in the region.
Update: President Mauricio Macri’s coalition won a majority of the Argentine Congress, and Cristina de Kirchner was elected as Senator for the province of Buenos Aires. Congress will have a different dynamic with a center-right majority working with an influential and powerful individual that is Senator Kirchner.