Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner returns to office as vice president with former minister Alberto Fernandez set to take the top position.

Argentina elected Alberto Fernandez as the new president on Sunday night. The economic crisis has hit the South American nation hard, but voters have backed the country’s populist-leftist Peronist party, as the political pendulum swings from right to left.

Early results showed that Fernandez received over 47 percent of the vote ahead of conservative Mauricio Macri, who received 41 percent of the vote.

In the lead up to the elections, opinion polls had suggested Fernandez’s win would be bigger. As Alberto Fernandez is set to take office with former President Cristina Fernandez, who will join him as vice-President elect.

Polling stations closed at 6pm on Sunday.

After the count was made and the votes confirmed, President Mauricio conceded defeat.

At a lively rally in the capital, Fernandez supporters broke into song in front of the podium where the politicians stood, in downtown neighbourhood of Chacarita in Buenos Aires.

Before Alberto could take the microphone, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had to quell crowds rejoicing and shouting loudly on several occasions.

"Today, Alberto is the president of all Argentines," she said.

Alberto Fernandez promised a discourse to bring back the good times to Argentina.

“The only thing that concerns us is that Argentines stops suffering once and for all,” he said.

But not all Argentines are celebrating.  

“I had the hope it would go to a run-off,” explains mother of two Eugenia María Felizia, a 49 year old professional tour guide who voted for Macri.

“What happened lately is that the economy was very difficult, especially for the middle and lower middle class, as well as small and medium sized businesses.  People were hoping for something else.”

As the result came in Argentines were divided on what this means for the future of their country.

“The result is not astonishing to me since we are in a crisis. Peronism always ends up being the quickest option to move forward,” says Emanuel Franco a 30 year old governmental worker from Reconquista, in the northern province of Santa Fe.

For many Argentines there were deeper lying issues which affected their vote to bring back the Peronists. 

The 31 year old father of one, who works as a course secretary at a photography school,  Luciano Cogoma voted for Alberto Fernandez because he wanted to send out a strong message against the previous politics of Macri.

Supporters of Peronist presidential candidate Alberto Fernández and running mate, former President Cristina Fernández, celebrate after incumbent President Mauricio Macri conceded defeat (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Supporters of Peronist presidential candidate Alberto Fernández and running mate, former President Cristina Fernández, celebrate after incumbent President Mauricio Macri conceded defeat (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) (AP)

In the lead up to the Argentine presidential elections Alberto Fernandez convincingly beat Mauricio Macri in the Primary elections. 

A day after the local peso lost 25 percent of its value alongside inflation and there’s also been a fall to real wages. 

During Macri’s time in office, he adopted market-friendly reforms and slashed subsidies.  Luciano says this hurt Argentines like him. 

Now he wants to see Argentina with more equality for all, which he says didn’t happen under the centre-right government. 

“He (Macri) was so insensitive to workers and retirees and would have surely sought a second term for greater labour flexibility and conditions to bring down the most vulnerable,” says Luciano.

“As a representative of the people he chose to benefit a comfortable minority to the detriment of the people” he says.

“They made us go backwards as a society” says Luciano, as hunger is now an issue in Buenos Aires as many less well-off beg for change.

Under Macri poverty rose to 35.4 percent.

Natalia Edith Mancilla, a 33 year old website designer voted against the Peronists on Sunday.

She is concerned by the potential change of policies and Alberto Fernandez’s victory is making her think back to harder times for her and her business. 

“The purchasing of dollars will be difficult, like it was under Cristina,” she says of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner who was the Argentine president from 2007 until 2015.

“Society returns to vote for the same characters who filled their pockets at the expense of the people,” says Alejandro Saragusti a 27 year old marketing professional.

De Kirchner's reputation

In Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s presence is a contentious issue, following allegations of political corruption.

For others under a Peronist government where several were arrested and jailed, her return is not welcome.

“Argentina is going to disappear from the international scene in terms of business with developed countries,” says Natalia.

“Let’s see what they propose to do and with the FMI to payback what they owe.”

Argentina has reportedly around $100 billion debt.

Inflation currently sits at 54 percent.

Other Argentines feel indifference to much of the presidential fanfare. 

“I am surprised by the relationship that exists with these populist governments.  Today Macri said that he has already planned to have a coffee with Alberto Fernandez. That explains that in the end they are not very different,” says Mauro Piedrabuena, 28 from the province of Santa Fe who works as an accounts manager.

Alberto Fernandez will assume the presidency on December 10.

Source: TRT World