Argentina’s primary elections

Natalia C. Del Cogliano has a very interesting post at The Monkey Cage about Argentina’s “Open, Simultaneous and Compulsory Primaries.”

Voters were able to select presidential candidates from across party lines, hence the “open” and “simultaneous” parts. However, this was not much of a primary: each party had only one presidential (pre-)candidate! In other words, this turned out to be nothing more than an early dry-run of the general election. (President Cristina F. de Kirchner won just over half the votes cast, with no other candidate even close.)

For other offices besides the presidency, there was intra-party competition.

As for all Argentine elections, voting was obligatory.

6 thoughts on “Argentina’s primary elections

  1. To clarify the 35% figure: that doesn’t apply just to any individual competitor, rather the top three competitors, combined don’t amount to 35%.


  2. It’s kinda-sorta like a runoff system, although also-rans in the “first” round are not obligated to withdraw.

    It’d be interesting to know how seriously candidates take this round. Do they raise and spend a lot of money, or do they keep their powder dry for the real thing?

    Does coalition formation start in earnest now?


  3. The general election itself is a form of two-round system. There is a runoff unless the leading candidate has 45% of the votes, or at least 40% with a lead of no less than 10 percentage points over the runner-up.

    Given how far ahead Fernandez de Kirchner was in this “primary,” there might not be much incentive for others to build coalitions. Even less incentive when the various parties are vying for congressional and other seats at the same time.

    Most of the parties are little more than vehicles for one candidate, which presumably explains why there was not actual competition for the presidential nominations. If some of them stood down as part of a coalition agreement, they might find they’d lose votes for congress.


  4. One important thing to highlight is that the implementation of primaries put strong incentives to avoid alliances and the organization of the opposition according to political competition real times, as it is forbidden to make formal political electoral coalitions after presenting the candidatures for the primaries (that is more than three months before the general elections!!!). This measure has put the opposition in a rush and in a way has impeded to conform a coherent political alternative.
    Besides it, “pre” candidates in fact didn’t compete at all, the primaries were compulsory at national level, but paradoxically competition was only real at local level (not even for provinces), the most important parties presented just one list for national deputies and senators.
    One final comment I would like to add is that primaries although apparently useless, had very important political purposes, as the recovery and final legitimation of the conduction of the PJ by the Frente para la Victoria. And the big surprise was the 10% for a candidate from the Socialist party, Hermes Binner, historically irrelevant for our political system.


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