Argentine President wins landslide re-election

 

Argentinian President Cristina Fernández has cruised to a landslide re-election win after securing the widest victory margin recorded in the country since the return to democracy in 1983.

Final polls showed the Peronist leader won 54 per cent of the vote in Sunday's national election, a rise on the 50 per cent she achieved in August's primaries.

The 58-year-old President made her victory speech from a central Buenos Aires hotel when only 23 per cent of ballot papers had been scrutinised, a sign of how confident the mood was. She continued to strike a conciliatory tone, as she had done throughout the campaign, calling for national unity.

"These numbers are impressive," she said. In reference to her woeful approval ratings of 2009, she added: "If we'd mentioned these numbers a few years ago, people would have said we were mad."

Few speeches made by Ms Fernández fail to mention her husband and former president Néstor Kirchner who died of a heart attack last year. In keeping with her policy of only referring to him in the third person, she called him "the great founder of tonight's victory".

She made it clear she intended to continue with the expansionist economic policies that helped sweep her to victory: "Through historical understanding, popular will and political conviction, count on me to continue developing the national project that is helping improve the lives of the 40 million Argentinians."

The Kirchner-Fernández years in power have looked to re-establish a strong state in the wake of the 2001/2 crash. The President has been able to fund social projects and state subsidies through booming commodity exports to China and trade with Brazil, Argentina's most important partner.

International organisations, including the International Monetary Fund, warn Argentina's economic situation is unsustainable. Despite predicting last month the country's economy would grow by 8 per cent this year – second only to China – it sounded alarm bells over an unofficial inflation rate of 25 per cent.

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