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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Sport
sport
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine