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Argentina - 2013 Election

In October 2011 voters re-elected President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of the Front for Victory coalition in polling described by media and various NGOs as free and fair. The country held legislative midterm elections on 27 October 2013. Voters elected one-half of the members of the Chamber of Deputies, representing all 23 provinces and the city of Buenos Aires, and one-third of those in the Senate, representing eight provinces. Local observers considered these elections generally free and fair.

President Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner's Victory Front (FV) and its allies remained the largest force in both chambers of the Congress but did not obtain the two-thirds Congressional majority it needed to be able to make constitutional changes. The Constitution barred Ms. Kirchner from seeking a third presidential term in 2015.

The FV won 39 of the 127 seats at stake, and now held a total of 115 seats in the 257-member Chamber of Deputies. It took 11 of the 24 seats at stake in the Senate, for a total of 33 of the 72 seats. The Radical Civic Union (UCR) - Socialist Party and its allies took a total of 54 seats in the Chamber. The Renewal Front (Frente Renovador, FR), a breakaway party from the FV, led by Mr. Sergio Massa, took 16 seats in the Chamber.

The FV ran on the government's record, citing better social benefits. Re-elected in 2011 on promises of increasing state control in Latin America's No. 3 economy, Fernandez's political coattails were trimmed by inflation, clocked by private analysts at 25 percent, while heavy-handed currency controls and falling central bank reserves dented confidence.

The UCR and the FR pledged to tackle high inflation. Candidates sponsored by Argentine opposition leader Sergio Massa won the House of Deputies' midterm by a 10-percentage-point margin in the key province of Buenos Aires, according to exit poll announced on local television. About the size of Italy, Buenos Aires province is home to 40 percent of Argentina's population and most of the country's agricultural output.

Following 2012 legislation on voting rights, voters ages 16 and 17 were added to the electoral register for the first time and participated in the August primary elections. Regulations provide that at least one-third of the candidates on election slates for both houses of congress must be women. There were 28 women in the 72-seat Senate and 90 women in the 257-seat Chamber of Deputies. The president, two of the seven Supreme Court justices, and two cabinet ministers were women. (A third woman cabinet minister moved to a diplomatic post in May.) No known ethnic or racial minorities were in the national legislature. There were no known indigenous, ethnic, or racial minorities in the cabinet or on the Supreme Court.

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