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President Macri the underdog as Argentina heads to the polls

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 27, 2019 - Duration: 01:35s

President Macri the underdog as Argentina heads to the polls

Argentines headed to the polls Sunday, after a year of twists and turns in a dramatic election race that has been chastening for conservative President Mauricio Macri, who trails well behind Peronist rival Alberto Fernandez in opinion polls.

Gavino Garay reports.

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President Macri the underdog as Argentina heads to the polls

Argentines headed to the voting booths Sunday, with conservative President Mauricio Macri trailing Peronist rival Alberto Fernandez in the polls.

Many pundits have already called the election for Fernandez, who is leading by an average 20-point margin.

The election is widely viewed as a referendum between Macri's tight-fisted austerity measures and the "social contract" of the left-leaning opposition, whose populism has lured voters hurt badly by an economic crisis.

Fernandez, a former Cabinet chief, is seen as a moderate within the broad Peronist flank.

But he is also viewed as an outsider on the global political stage -- his winning of the August primary plunged markets over fears of a populist shift.

Macri's reform plans to lure foreign investment into energy projects and infrastructure were badly hit in 2018 when a currency and debt crisis forced him to strike a deal with the IMF for $57 billion to help the country to pay its bills.

If Fernandez comes out on top, he too will inherit the task of restructuring over $100 billion in sovereign debt.

Argentina’s choice could have far-reaching implications as it has significant shale oil resources and is one the world’s top grain exporters.

Voting goes on until 6 p.m.

Local time, with the first results expected a few hours later.

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