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Primary gives boost to Kirchner's re-election hopes

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner took a commanding lead in the country's open primary election on Sunday, according to exit polls. The general election will be held on October 23.

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AFP - Buoyed by a strong economy, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner got a boost for her re-election bid by trouncing her rivals in Argentina's open primary election on Sunday, exit polls showed.

Kirchner, 58, a member of the Peronist party and the widow of the late former president Nestor Kirchner (president 2003-2007), has a commanding lead in the vote, held ahead of Argentina's October 23 presidential elections, according to polls cited by local media.

The second most popular candidate was former president Eduardo Duhalde (2002-2003), who is also a Peronist but representing a different faction of the party.

Third was Ricardo Alfonsin, son of the late former president Raul Alfonsin (1983-1989) and a member of the centrist Radical party.

By law, candidates receiving less than 1.5 percent of the vote will not be allowed to enter their names on the ballot for the general election. In the general election, a candidate needs to win at least 45 percent of the vote, or 40 percent and a 10-point margin ahead of the nearest rival to avoid a runoff.

A survey ahead of the vote by Management & Fit consultants showed that if the vote were held today, Kirchner would win with 41 percent of the vote, more than 20 percentage points ahead of her nearest competitor.

Official results will be announced around starting at 0200 GMT Monday, electoral officials said.
 

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