Argentina's Fernandez de Kirchner easily reelected as president

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on Sunday
REPORTING FROM BUENOS AIRES AND SANTIAGO -- Aided by a booming economy, populist policies and public sympathy over the death of her husband and predecessor, Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner easily won a second term in Sunday’s national election.

With 58% of the ballots counted, the 58-year old former senator and widow of late former President Nestor Kirchner, had 53% of the vote, far ahead of the nearest of six rivals, Socialist candidate and governor of Santa Fe state Hermes Binner, with 17%.

“All I want is to keep helping ... to keep Argentina growing,” she said in her victory speech. “I want to keep changing history.”

Exit polls also indicated that candidates allied with her Victory Front party would regain control of both houses of Argentina’s congress, a majority she had lost in the 2009 election.

A victory, particularly without the need for a runoff,  represents a remarkable turnaround for Fernandez, whose approval ratings had slumped to 20% in 2008, the year after she took office and imposed export controls and taxes on the nation’s booming farm industry. A wave of strikes ensued, but the nation’s resilience in the face of the global economic crisis -- and her spending on social projects and consumer subsidies -- helped turn voter sentiment in her favor.

“I agree with everything she’s doing. There is more social inclusion, more jobs, people are buying more cars and taking vacations,” said housewife Viviana Bucaron, 39, after voting in the lower middle class Villa Pueyrredon neighborhood

Americas Argentina Bogota bureau Latin America
10/23/2011 21:57

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