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
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat