Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Why Are So Many Children Dying in Gaza?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Seleka calls for partition

Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Netherlands holds day of mourning for victims of flight MH17

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • Ryanair ordered to pay back €9.6m in illegal state aid to France

    Read more

  • Gaza protests: ‘France imported the Mideast conflict a long time ago’

    Read more

Americas

President Kirchner faces defeat in poll

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-29

The ruling coalition of President Cristina Kirchner appears to have lost control of Congress in a close electoral contest that saw the president's husband, Nestor Kirchner, concede a symbolic defeat in the key province of Buenos Aires.

AFP - The ruling coalition of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner was dealt a blow in mid-term elections, losing control of the country's Congress and suffering defeat in five key provinces.
  
Even the president's husband Nestor Kirchner, himself a former head of state, lost his race in Buenos Aires province, where he was seeking a seat in the Chamber of Deputies.
  
"Argentine society has sent the government a message," commented political analyst Rosendo Fraga after the release of official results from Sunday's balloting. "It has to change course."
  
With from 75 percent to 95 percent of the ballots counted, a coalition supported by the president and her husband lost four seats in the Senate and with them control of the 72-member upper house of parliament.
  
For with the 36 Senate seats still under their control, the pro-government Front for Victory is one short of a controlling majority.
  
"We have now become the main opposition force," boasted opposition leader Ricardo Alfoncin, who won a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, which also went to the opposition.
  
Nestor Kirchner tasted defeat in his bid for a seat in Buenos Aires, supported by the governor and dozens of mayors.
  
"We have lost by one and a half or two points and we have no problem recognizing it," he conceded late Sunday.
  
It was an alliance of dissident Peronists including wealthy entrepreneur Francisco de Narvaez, as well as Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, who thwarted Nestor Kirchner's bid.
  
De Narvaez represents the return within the Peronist Party of neoliberal ideas of former president Carlos Menem.
  
The pro-government coalition also suffered heavy losses in the capital as well as the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Cordoba and Mendoza, the returns showed.
  
Presidential allies lost even in the southern province of Santa Cruz, where the Kirchners began their political careers.
  
Often sporting masks to protect against the influenza A(H1N1) flu virus that has killed 26 people in the country, Argentines voted Sunday for half of the 247 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and a third of 72 Senate seats.
  
The opposition represents about 70 percent of the electorate, with some 30 percent for the Peronist Party.
  
But the opposition is split between right-leaning Peronists who have distanced themselves from the Kirchners, Social Democrats, Socialists and minority and leftist parties.
  
It was Nestor Kirchner, as the head of the ruling Peronist Party, who shepherded the nation through its recovery from the 2001 financial crisis.
  
Renowned for overturning amnesty laws for military officers accused of torture and assassinations during the country's 1976-1983 "dirty war."
  
But the team now led by his wife, President Cristina Kirchner, has failed to live up to promises to reduce poverty and is losing steam.
  
Argentina, a nation of 40 million, once prided itself on having more in common with Europe than many of its troubled Latin American neighbors.
  
But now its problems include drug use in the slums, millions living in poverty and growing insecurity.
  
Agricultural workers have also been angered by the government's decision to hike export taxes by 25 percent on soy beans, one of the country's top exports.
  
In recent months, the president's popularity has dropped from 55 percent to less than 30 percent.
  
Nestor Kirchner governed Argentina from 2003 to 2007, with high world prices for Argentine exports leading the economy to nine percent annual growth and boosting his popularity and that of his wife, Cristina, who took over in 2007.
  
Kirchner's husband recently warned skeptical voters of the risk of a return to the economic crisis of 2001, the worst in the country's history.
  
"It's a choice between a return to the past and the consolidation of a national project," he said.
  

Date created : 2009-06-29

COMMENT(S)