Cambiemos, the center-right electoral coalition led by Argentine President Mauricio Macri, won a major victory in the mid-term senate elections on October 22. The party increased its seat share in what was largely seen as a referendum on Macri’s first two years as president.
Cambiemos will be the second-largest party in the senate, behind the Justicialista Party. Although Cambiemos will not have a majority, it will control over one third of the seats, a critical condition that will prevent other parties from overturning President Macri’s vetoes.
In senate elections, each province elects three senators, two from the party that receives the most votes and one from the second-place party. The five largest provinces by population in Argentina all elected Cambiemos members as their first-place senators, a result that led Vice President Gabriela Michetti to claim that the change voters chose in 2015 has now been consolidated.
Macri announced that his governing coalition would now seek more aggressive reforms on taxes, education, and labor laws. The pro-market leader has already clashed with labor representatives during his first two years in office because of his reduction of tariffs and hikes of utility rates.
Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President Macri’s main political rival, won a senate seat in the province of Buenos Aires after placing second in the election behind Esteban Bullrich of the Cambiemos coalition. The poor showing was blamed on the inability to unify the Peronist vote, which was split between the Justicialista Party and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s personal Unidad Ciudadana.
Juan Manuel Urtubey, governor of Salta Province and the politician most likely to lead the opposition after Fernandez de Kirchner, lost his senate race to Macri’s coalition in an upset. Cambiemos politicians have claimed that the result marks a new political era and a rebellion against Peronism, a dominant force in Argentine politics.