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Argentine general election, 1999


Argentina held presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 October 1999. Turnout was 82.2%, and the results were as follows:

Presidential election

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!style="background-color:E9E9E9" align=left|Candidates

!style="background-color:E9E9E9" align=left|Nominating parties

!style="background-color:E9E9E9" align=right|Votes

!style="background-color:E9E9E9" align=right|%

|- |align=left|Fernando De la Rua - Carlos Alvarez |align=left|Alliance for Work, Justice and Education |align="right" |9,167,404 |align="right" |48.37 |- |align=left|Eduardo Duhalde - Ramon Ortega |align=left|Justicialist Party ("Partido Justicialista") |align="right" |7,254,417 |align="right" |38.27 |- |align=left|Domingo Cavallo - Jose Armando Caro Figueroa |align=left|Action for the Republic ("Accion por la Republica") |align="right" |1,937,565 |align="right" |10.22 |- |align=left|Patricia Walsh - Rogelio de Leonardi |align=left|United Left ("Izquierda Unida") |align="right" |151,276 |align="right" |0.80 |- |align=left|Lia Mendez - Jorge Pompei |align=left|Humanist Party ("Partido Humanista") |align="right" |131,811 |align="right" |0.70 |- |align=left|Jorge Altamira - Pablo Rieznik |align=left|Worker's Party ("Partido Obrero") |align="right" |113,916 |align="right" |0.60 |- |align=left|Jorge Moccia - Gabriel Reyna |align=left|Resistance Front ("Frente de la Resistencia") |align="right" |57,134 |align="right" |0.30 |- |align=left|Juan Ricardo Mussa - Irene Herrera |align=left|Social-Christian Alliance ("Alianza Social Cristiana") |align="right" |53.145 |align="right" |0.28 |- |align=left|Jose Montes - Oscar Hernandez |align=left|Socialist Workers' Party ("Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas") |align="right" |43.911 |align="right" |0.23 |- |align=left|Domingo Quarracino - Amelia Rearte |align=left|Authentic Socialist Party ("Partido Socialista Autentico") |align="right" |43.147 |align="right" |0.23 |- |align=left colspan=2|Total positive votes |align=right|18,953,456 | |- |align=left colspan=4|Source: Ministerio del Interior

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Legislative elections

Following these elections, the Argentine Chamber of Deputies was constituted as follows:

Background

The Convertibility Plan, which had helped bring about stable prices and economic recovery and modernization, had endured the 1995 Mexican peso crisis, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, and other global shocks; but not without strain. Argentine business confidence struggled following these events and unemployment, already higher as a result of a wave of imports and sharp gains in productivity after 1990, had hovered around 15% since 1995. Economic problems also led to a sudden increase in crime, particularly property crime, and President Carlos Menem's unpopularity had left his Justicialist Party (whose populist Peronist platform he had largely abandoned) weakened.

Himself experienced with the burdens of an economy in crisis, former President and centrist UCR leader Raul Alfonsin negotiated a big tent alliance with the center-left FrePaSo, in 1996. Following the Alliance's success in 1997, the party geared for the 1999 elections by nominating Buenos Aires Mayor Fernando de la Rua for president and Frepaso leader Carlos Chacho Alvarez as his running mate. De la Rua and Alvarez were both veteran also-rans. A former Peronist who had broken ranks with his party following Menem's turn to the right in 1989, Alvarez remained the country's most prominent center-left figure following the Frepaso's defeat in 1995. He also provided a counterbalance to de la Rua, a moderately conservative UCR figure who had himself (in 1973) been the running mate on a defeated UCR ticket.

The Justicialist Party was badly positioned as the economy re-entered recession in late 1998. President Menem had only worsened its image by flirting with seeking an unprecedented third straight term, though this was barred by the Argentine Constitution. Unable to persuade Congress to approve these plans, he pledged to run again in 2003, stating that "If I had been permitted to run, I am sure I would have won. But I still have time for a future presidential election."

Broadsides like these only further undermined his party's nominee, Buenos Aires Province Governor Eduardo Duhalde, who as a more traditional Peronist, had been distanced from the President since being elected governor in 1991. Duhalde's own approval suffered, however, as crime rates in the Greater Buenos Aires area (home to 2/3 of his constituents) rose steadily. This weakness was highlighted by the Ramallo massacre, a botched police intervention of a bank robbery on September 17. An imposing figure in his party despite his diminutive height, Duhalde could only agree on a marginal figure in the party as his running mate: pop musician and former Tucuman Province Governor Ramon Ortega.

Domingo Cavallo, the economist behind the "Argentine miracle" of the early 1990s, had become unpopular during the 1995 recession. He was acrimoniously dismissed by the President in 1996 following his public allegations of influential "mafias" in Menem's entourage. His statements gained vailidity, however, following the 1997 murder of a newsmagazine photojournalist targeted by a shipping magnate close to Menem. Cavallo founded the Action for the Republic, and thus became a further obstacle to Duhalde, who would now lose a large share of the Menem vote to the unpredictable economist.

The recession, which had begun to ease on the eve of the October 24 election date, remained a central campaign issue. De la Rua, who had earned plaudits for his fiscal discipline while mayor of Buenos Aires, stressed the need to crack down on graft and corruption. Besides referring to Menem himself, he pointed to the presence of exiled Paraguayan strongman General Lino Oviedo (who had been allowed in as a fugitive by Menem) as a poster child of the prevailing state of the rule of law. Duhalde focused on promises to combat the recession and double-digit unemployment. An anticipated runoff election was ultimately not needed, since the Alliance obtained 48% of the total vote - winning on the first round by 10% over Duhalde. Cavallo and running mate Armando Caro Figueroa received only 10%, and much of the remainder went to left-wing parties .

The 1999 legislative elections renewed about half of the Chamber of Deputies (130 seats). The Alliance obtained 63 seats; the Justicialist Party got 51, and Domingo Cavallo's Action for the Republic got 7. Despite the triumph, the Alliance was left with 5 deputied less than would be required for quorum, and this lack of an absolute majority would later make it difficult for De la Rua's administration to pass important laws. The Justicialists found a silver lining in that years' gubernatorial elections: they retained their 14 governors (to the UCR's 7) and, in an upset, elected outgoing Vice President Carlos Ruckauf Governor of Buenos Aires Province, the nation's largest.

Candidates for President

Alliance for Work, Justice and Education (centrist): City Government Head Fernando de la Rua of Buenos Aires

Justicialist Party (populist): Governor Eduardo Duhalde of Buenos Aires Province

Action for the Republic (center-right): Former Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo of Cordoba Province

See also

Politics of Argentina

List of political parties in Argentina

External links

Andy Tow's Election Atlas: Presidential, Legislative and Gubernatorial elections in Argentina since 1983.

Inter-Parliamentary Union. Argentina - ELECTIONS HELD IN 1999.

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