Argentina’s “primaries”

At the Monkey Cage, Natalia C. Del Cogliano and Mariana L. Prats offer a report on the recent primary elections in Argentina. However, as they note, calling them “primaries” is somewhat misleading.

Here is the first paragraph:

On Sunday, August 11th, open, compulsory and simultaneous primary elections were held for the second time across the whole of Argentina since their enactment in 2009[1]. However, they were still far from being primaries stricto sensu. They were probably more like simple primaries. As we already said in our previous Monkey Cage election report, the actual system of primaries can mostly be defined as a virtual first round of an unofficial two-round legislative election. Our primaries function more like a de facto national poll that sets the stage for the general election.

Although the post describes the political implications well, I do not think I understand the electoral rules. Maybe a reader of this blog knows the fine details.

3 thoughts on “Argentina’s “primaries”

  1. To my knowledge, the only constraints defined in these primaries are participation thresholds.

    *the presidential primaries would only select one candidate from each party (plurality rule), imposing thresholds for the parties (not the formulas). However, if I am not wrong, each party had only one formula in the last presidential primaries.

    *the legislative primaries do the same regarding thresholds for the parties, but not factions (if I am not wrong, there are different national and subnational thresholds).

    The trick is that it is not specified by law what will be the composition of the final “party list” (so the “effective electoral” rule is decided inside the party). Thus, it is up to the party what to do with the outcome of the primaries. For instance, the party could decide that the winning faction within the party will choose the final list. Or on the other hand, the final list will depend on the weights of each faction within the primary.

    The confusion arises, I suppose, because up to now, in general, parties have not used the “primaries” as an instrument of competition across “factions” within a party, but rather as a cross-party competition.

  2. Thanks, Agustin. So some parties will simply have the faction with the plurality in the primary choose and rank all the candidates? That’s a very strange rule for a PR-list system to employ!

    By “formula” I will assume you mean “ticket” (i.e. both a presidential and vice presidential candidate), correct?

  3. Yes Matthew, I mean, that “could” be the case as there is no rule about how to put together the party list after the primary.

    I think only one party (“UNEN”) had factions competing against each other, and they have decided to determine the composition of the party according to the shares they get. All the other parties had one list (that’s why people say that it is like a national official poll rather than a primary).

    I was hesitating about it and I checked (maybe I should double check it), but to my knowledge, parties have discretion to decide which rule will be used to decide the list composition (the text says something like in accordance to their “organic constitution”). That is a weird rule indeed.

    PS1. Also yes, formula = ticket.
    PS2. And in the legislative primaries, it is not the party (as I said before), but the winning faction that has to be above a 2% threshold.

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