BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Mauricio Macri conceded his party’s defeat in nationwide primary elections held on Sunday even before the first provisional results were released.
“We have had a bad election and that forces us to redouble our efforts – starting tomorrow – so that in October we will get the support that is needed to continue the change,” the right-wing politician said at the headquarters of the Juntos por el Cambio (“Together for Change”) party in Buenos Aires.
The provisional results were scheduled to be broadcast at 9 pm local time, but no official figures were announced and no official explanation had been given by 10.30 pm.
This sparked outrage among the opposition’s supporters, who demanded explanations from the government and the disclosure of the final vote count.
Later, with just 58.7 percent of votes tallied, Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio announced that the center-left Peronist candidate Alberto Fernandez had obtained around 47.01 percent of the vote, followed by Macri, who got 32.66 percent, and Roberto Lavagna – an independent with Peronist leanings – with 8.47 percent.
“It hurts that today we have not had all the support we expected. But starting tomorrow, we are all the more responsible for moving this country forward. So let’s get some sleep and start working tomorrow morning,” the president told his supporters.
Part of Macri’s team was also with him, including the governor of Buenos Aires, Maria Eugenia Vidal – who stood for reelection – and the mayor of the capital, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, who garnered the most votes in the local primaries.
Macri said that “we must move towards the future” and continue building a system “that strengthens democracy even more.”
“Let’s work together for the October election, which is where Argentina’s next 30 years may have to be decided,” he said, in reference to the upcoming general election that will choose the South American country’s next president, the members of the national congress and the governors of most provinces.
The president acknowledged the difficulties that the country has undergone lately, specifically, the economic recession which started in the second quarter of last year with a sudden devaluation of the peso that triggered strong inflation, a fall in consumption and an increase in poverty levels.
“It has led to a lot of anguish, a lot of doubt, but I insist: I am here to help you. I am here because I love this country and I believe in each one of you and what we all can do,” he said.
“It is very important that we all continue talking in this country and trying to explain to the world what we want. Because we would have no future if we’re isolated from the world,” he said.
The president congratulated Vidal for her “efforts” ruling the most populous province in the country, where gubernatorial elections were also held on Sunday.