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Argentina - 2017 Election

On 06 April 2017 the general strike kicked off with riot police violently dispersing protesters blocking highways feeding into Buenos Aires. The first nationwide general strike since Macri took office was organized to protest his government's austerity and neoliberal shock therapy on the economy. Hundreds of protesters blocked the Panamerican Highway and were violently evicted by police with tear gas and water cannons at the outset of the strike. At least six people were arrested and four injured.

As several organizations and unions support the strike, national and international flights were canceled as well as public transportation during the 24-hour general strike, bringing a halt to activities in health, education, manufacturing, banking, garbage collection and even some government offices. Unions and supporters demanded wage hikes, job creation, and more opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises in Argentina. They were protesting double-digit inflation, rising basic commodity products, cuts to services, and mass layoffs.

Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner introduced her Citizens Unity political alliance in early July; a movement which aimed to form a broad coalition of parties to counter the neoliberalism of Macris administration. Under Macri, economic controls were lifted and social spending slashed, undoing many of the progressive gains made under the Kirchner presidencies of Fernandez and her late husband Nestor Kirchner.

Fernandez de Kirchner and President Mauricio Macri's candidate were virtually tied in Argentinas congressional primaries 14 August 2017 leading up to the October election. With 95.58 percent of votes in Buenos Aires province counted home to nearly 40 percent of Argentina's electorate the ruling party led by Macri's former Education Minister Esteban Bullrich had captured 34.19 percent while Fernandez was within a whisker with 34.11 percent. Regardless of the final outcome, the candidates would face each other in the congressional elections in October, when Argentines will elect one-third of the senate and half the chamber of deputies.

The country held legislative elections on 22 October 2017. Voters elected more than one-half of the members of the Chamber of Deputies, representing all of the provinces and the city of Buenos Aires, and one-third of the members of the Senate, representing eight provinces. Local and international observers considered the elections generally free and fair.

President Mauricio Macri's "Let's Change" (Cambiemos) coalition increased its share of seats in both chambers of Congress but fell short of a majority. The "Let's Change" coalition included PRO (Republican Proposal), the Radical Civic Union (U.C.R.) and the Civic Coalition, among others.

It holds over 100 seats in the 257-member Chamber of Deputies and 24 seats in the 72-member Senate. The coalition won in the traditional stronghold of Peronist forces, including Buenos Aires province and Santa Cruz. Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner formed the Citizens' Unity (Unidad Ciudadana) party and was elected to the Senate. Following the elections, Peronist senators who distanced themselves from Ms. Fernandez de Kirchner (known as "Peronismo no K") formed a new parliamentary group, Justicialista, comprising 25 senators and 30 deputies.

During the election campaign, the "Let's Change" coalition promised to continue its free-market reform agenda to revive the country's economy. Citizens' Unity argued that the government's policies have increased poverty and inequality in Argentina.

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