Two exit polls have revealed that centre-right opposition challenger Mauricio Macri has won Argentina's presidential election today in the country's first ever presidential run-off. The vote took place Sunday (22 November) and the final polls seem to indicate that leftist ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli had lost.
Argentine TV stations broadcasted the poll results whilst Macri's campaign team cheered as the mayor of Buenos Aires was said to have won by a margin of 5 to 8 percentage points. If confirmed, it will be the first time in twelve years that an opposition leader has wrestled the presidency from the Peronists - the populist movement that has dominated politics in Argentina for much of the past 70 years.
Daniel Scioli, the governor of Buenos Aires province, was once a former speed boat racing champion who lost his arm in an accident in 1989. Seen by some as the natural successor to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, he was once ahead in the polls, but has since slipped in approval ratings.
But the 56-year-old Macri, 56, the mayor of Buenos Aires and head of the Cambiemos (Let's Change) coalition had clawed back a comfortable lead in opinion polls. The son of one of Argentina's richest men, he had a career in business before entering politics and promises to bring new investment into the suffering economy, tackle crime and fight corruption.
Neither candidate managed won the first round of voting in October outright, which led to a run-off - the first in the country's history. Scioli was narrowly ahead in the first round, with 36.7 per cent to 34.5 per cent, but has believed to have lost ground since.
The latest opinion poll by consultancy Management and Fit showed Macri with 55.3 percent support and Scioli with 44.7 percent. Turnout was expected to be at around 70 per cent, said Reuters.
Former Boca Juniors football executive, Macri, vowed to free up trade and liberalise the economy following policies of state control and protectionism favoured by the Kirchners – which had led the country into financial turmoil.
Scioli had said that Macri's proposals threatened welfare payments, salaries and industry. But the former vice-president under Néstor Kirchner has admitted that the country needed financial reform.