Buenos Aires (AFP)

Argentine Liberal President Mauricio Macri suffered a heavy setback on Sunday against center-left Peronist and former prime minister Alberto Fernandez in the primary elections, seen as a general rehearsal for the October presidential election in which he plans to run for president. second term.

According to partial results on 58.7% of the polling stations, Fernandez and his coliter Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the former president of the country, won 47.01% of the vote, compared to 32.66% for the tandem. composed of Mauricio Macri and Peronist leader Miguel Angel Pichetto.

If such a result is repeated in the presidential election of October 27, Mr. Fernandez, 60, would be proclaimed winner in the first round, since according to the electoral law in Argentina it is sufficient to obtain at least 45% of the votes, or well 40% and a ten point lead over the second-ranked candidate.

"We suffered a bad election and this forces us, from tomorrow, to redouble our efforts.We regret not having had all the support we hoped for," quickly acknowledged the head of state of the third economy of Latin America, plunged into a serious economic crisis.

"To those who did not vote for me, I promise to work so that they understand me We will begin a new stage", for its part congratulated Mr. Fernandez in front of a crowd of several thousand supporters in cheering.

- An Argentinean peculiarity -

Created in 2009, the system of general primaries for all political parties, the same day and in a national poll, is an Argentinean peculiarity.

In this country of 34 million voters where voting is mandatory - the turnout was 75% - it is rather a life-size poll before the October general elections, the parties This year, politicians have chosen, for reasons of electoral strategy, to invest their candidates in advance as the law allows.

Another peculiarity: Peronists presented themselves in three different camps. Former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna and his mate Juan Manuel Urtubey, who represented the centrist tendency of Peronism, came in third with 8.7% of the vote.

Since 2009, the scores of the presidential polls have been in line with the primary polls.

"A difference of more than five points will be very difficult to overcome, because there is no margin to find votes because of the polarization" of the country, had explained before the result the political analyst Raul Aragon.

Alberto Fernandez, head of the government of Nestor then Cristina Kirchner between 2003 and 2008, campaigned by swearing to have broken with leftist policies followed in the past and refocused.

To everyone's surprise, as she was leading the polls, Kirchner announced her withdrawal on May 18, leaving Fernandez to run for president in 2007-2015.

Charged with several corruption cases, the former president retains a decisive influence on the Citizens' Unity party she founded, which has invested Alberto Fernandez. Their election ticket was presented under a banner recently created and called "The Front of All" (El Frente de todos).

60-year-old Mauricio Macri, meanwhile, had surprised him by choosing to run the Peronist leader Miguel Angel Pichetto, breaking with his doctrine that had led him to keep out the Peronists of his government.

- Macri candidate of the markets -

Sign of interest in these primaries, the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange had closed Friday up 8%, analysts explaining this trend by some polls more favorable to Mauricio Macri, the preferred candidate markets, even if the duo Fernandez-Kichner was given winner.

Overwhelmed by two currency crises in 2018 that caused its currency to lose 50% of its value, Argentina called the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the rescue, to obtain a loan of more than 57 billion dollars.

In its latest global growth forecast released in the spring, the IMF had forecast a contraction in Argentina's GDP of 1.2% in 2019 while waiting for a recovery in the second half. For 2020, it forecasts growth of 2.2%.

In this country in recession since last year, inflation remains very high over the last 12 months, at 40%, and unemployment, at 10.1%.

The first round of the presidential election will take place on October 27th, while the eventual second round is scheduled for November 24th. In the general elections of 27 October, the Argentineans will also partially renew the two houses of Parliament, whose candidates also ran in Sunday primaries.

© 2019 AFP