Outgoing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's choice, Daniel Scioli from the left-wing party of Peronists, is said to be leading as Argentina votes in the presidential election. Scioli faces stiff competition from centre-right mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, and Sergio Massa, a former Kirchner ally. There are six candidates, half of them Peronists, in the fray.
To avoid a run-off -- which if it happens is scheduled for 22 November – a presidential candidate should get more than 45% of the total vote or less but with a 10-point lead over the runner-up. Scioli is expected to get the most votes, but whether he can reach any of the two marks set to win the presidential election is as yet unclear.
Scioli, the governor of Buenos Aires, has pledged to cut taxes for middle-class workers under a certain income group, affecting half a million Argentineans. He has also vowed to bring down Argentina's inflation rate to single digit in less than four years through new policy measures. He has said he would not appoint a Falklands minister and would seek closer ties with London even though his predecessor Kirchner was looking to press Argentina's claims to the Falkland Islands.
Kirchner, who succeeded her late husband Nestor as president, has served two consecutive terms, and according to the country's constitution, cannot run for the country's highest position for a third consecutive term. Kirchner and her husband ruled for 12 years and under their leadership Argentina has seen inflation rise to one of the highest levels in the world.
Whoever wins the presidency faces daunting economic challenges, as the growth rate in Latin America's third largest economy has drastically declined with the GDP registering a mere 0.5% rise last year. Also, ever since the country defaulted on a debt of $100bn (£65bn) in 2001, it is involved in a tussle with American hedge funds over restructuring the debt. Kirchner has refused to pay even though firms have successfully sued Argentina for repayment of the debt.