Macri vows to win a second term in October despite Sunday's trouncing

A woman looks for her polling station number outside a school during primary elections in Buenos Aires Argentina Sunday Aug. 11 2019. Argentina is holding primary elections Sunday which are expected to provide a hint of who might win ahead of October

Argentina's peso currency collapsed on Monday and inflation was expected to rise as voters flirted with a return to interventionist economics by snubbing market-friendly Macri for the opposition in a primary vote on Sunday.

Since all major parties have already selected their presidential candidates and political parties hold their primaries simultaneously, the vote served as a pre-election opinion poll to gauge how candidates will fare in the presidential election of October 27 and the potential November 24 run-off.

Opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez, whose running mate is former president Cristina Fernandez, beat Macri by a wider-than-expected 15.5 percentage points with almost 48% of votes, with 99% of ballots counted after Sunday's primary. The Sunday vote landed the incumbent presidentwere with 32.36 percent of support, while Fernandez obtained 47.22 percent.

The sell-off is a sample of what Argentines can expect should Fernandez be confirmed as the country's next president, Macri said, adding he won't make changes to his Cabinet now.

Argentina's electoral law requires a candidate to gain 45 per cent for outright victory, or 40 per cent and a lead of at least 10 points over the nearest challenger. He says he is taking the necessary, painful steps to get the economy going after 12 years of leftist populism under Cristina Fernandez and her predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner.

On the NY stock exchange, Argentine bonds lost around 20 per cent and shares in companies from the recession-hit South American country haemorrhaged more than 50 per cent. "We have come to give Argentina a better horizon", Fernandez said.

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"Another sharp and sustained episode of financial volatility that interrupts the recent downward trend in inflation, improvement in confidence and recovery in economic activity could increase voter frustration with Macri and lead his support to erode from current levels". However, he was forced instead to seek a record $57 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Cristina Fernandez is now facing a series of trials for corruption during her 2007-2015 administration.

"We always fix the problems that others create", said Fernandez to thousands of cheering supporters in Buenos Aires on Sunday night.

Macri, who assumed the presidency in 2015, won on a promise to boost the economy. The peso has lost nearly one-third of its value so far this year, making it the worst performing currency in the world.

The markets view Fernández and Kirchner, seen as free-spending left-wing populists, with deep suspicion.

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