Victory of Alberto Fernndezs presidential campaign puts an end to the pro-business economic policies of Macris administration
In a dramatic comeback, Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner, one of Argentinas most popular presidents during her two terms from 2007 to 2015, has been voted back into office as vice-president.
A large crowd of supporters burst into a roar outside the Frente de Todos (Everybodys Front) party bunker in the Chacarita neighbourhood of the capital Buenos Aires on Sunday night, when preliminary official results gave the victory to the centre-left presidential candidate Alberto Fernndez and his running mate Fernndez de Kirchner.
President-elect Fernndez, who assumes office on 10 December, arrived at the presidential palace on Monday for a meeting with outgoing incumbent Mauricio Macri to discuss the potentially tricky transition of power.
The victory puts an end to the pro-business economic policies of Macris administration, who promised zero poverty during his electoral campaign but exits office with a plunging peso, an inflation rate that rocketed to an annual 56%, and the number of people living beneath the poverty line having risen from 29% to 35%.
Conceding defeat on Sunday, Macri told his supporters: We need an orderly transition that will bring tranquility to all Argentinians, because the most important thing is the wellbeing of all Argentinians.
With more than 90% of ballots counted, Fernndez, no relation to Fernndez de Kirchner, had 47.79% of the vote, compared to Macris 40.71%.
Fernndez is a moderate Peronist who has pledged to respect the $57bn IMF loan taken out by Macri last year to try and salvage Argentinas creaking economy while promising to improve wages and benefits for workers and pensioners.
His victory was widely expected, and car horns started sounding non-stop in Buenos Aires after polling booths closed at 6pm on Sunday.
In one quiet neighbourhood, a group of bicycle delivery workers one of the few job opportunities available for young people during Macris administration rode through the streets tinkling their bells ecstatically to celebrate the end of his government.
Argentinas elections, traditionally held the last Sunday of October, coincided this year with the ninth anniversary of the death from a sudden heart attack of Nstor Kirchner, the husband and predecessor in office of Fernndez de Kirchner. During his 2003-2007 administration, Kirchner led Argentinas recovery from its economic collapse and monumental foreign debt default in 2001-02.
Cristina Fernndez served as president from 2007 to 2015. By the time she left office she was entangled in a string of court cases involving accusations of bribery, money laundering, corruption and allegations that she had helped cover up Irans involvement in a terrorist bombing that prosecutor was investigating. Some of the corruption cases are continuing. She denies any wrongdoing.
The memory of the period of sustained economic growth in the 2000s, during which time Fernndez was the cabinet chief, played an important part in the election campaign.
Reflecting his confidence in an easy win, Fernndez, an amateur musician who enjoys hanging out with rock stars, spent a relaxed Saturday afternoon playing the guitar and singing 1960s and 70s Argentine rock songs with Gustavo Santaolalla, the Argentinian musician who won two consecutive Academy Awards for Brokeback Mountain and Babel. A short video of the impromptu jam uploaded by Fernndezs spokesman Juan Pablo Biondi soon reached over 170,000 views on Twitter.
On Saturday, Fernndez de Kirchner visited her husbands mausoleum in the Patagonian city of Ro Gallegos, and on Sunday at midday she was greeted by a large adoring crowd at the polling booth. This is such an important day for democracy, Fernndez de Kirchner said to journalists after voting.