Argentines give Menem second term

Argentines fearful of losing hard-won economic stability appeared to have granted theirPresident, Carlos Menem, a second successive term in yesterday's elections.

According to exit polls, Mr Menem, 64, heading the Justicialista (Peronist) Party, looked like scoring about 47.5 per cent, enough to avoid a run- off with 49-year-old Jose Octavio Bordon of the Frepaso (Front for a Country of Solidarity) coalition, who scored around 34 per cent. New electoral rules meant the winner had to reach either 45 per cent outright, or 40 per cent with a 10-point margin over the runner-up.

Although convinced his country needed him for four more years, Mr Menem knew his limitations when he forced through the constitutional change last year that allowed him to run again. The 45-per-cent threshold or 40 per cent with a 10-point margin was tailored to the vote he believed he could get. Also conveniently tailored was the new rule that blank ballots would not be counted, making the threshold easier.

As a concession to opponents whose arms he twisted into agreeing to the changes, his possible second term was cut from six years to four. Although first first results were not due out until early today, Horacio Massaccesi, of the Peronists' traditional Radical Party rivals, won a disappointing 14 per cent, according to exit polls.

Had Mr Bordon been able to force a run-off, he might well have been able to defeat Mr Menem with the support of the Radicals and smaller parties in a second round.

Ideology and party lines went out of the window in elections which failed to arouse passions although, with voting obligatory for 18- to 70-year- olds and democracy still a relative novelty, turn-out appeared to be high.

Since taking power in 1989, Mr Menem has turned Peronism, once populist, on its head with privatisations, free-market policies and what one of his ministers described as "carnal relations" with the United States. Continuity was his campaign theme, focusing on his success in reducing hyperinflation to single digits and on the stability provided by his policy of dollar-peso parity.

Faced with the popularity of those policies, Mr Bordon was wise enough to campaign on the platform of a change of faces.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before