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Argentina’s Macri Passes on Presidential Race, May Force Runoff

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri’s decision not to run for president of Argentina boosts opposition chances of forcing a runoff in the October elections, according to political analyst Rosendo Fraga.

Macri’s PRO party is more likely to throw its support behind Radical Civic Union candidate Ricardo Alfonsin than any other contender, said Fraga, who runs the Nueva Mayoria polling company in Buenos Aires.

“Macri and Alfonsin were disputing second place, and now Alfonsin is the predominant opposition candidate,” Fraga said in an interview yesterday. “Most of the PRO will back Alfonsin whether or not there’s a formal accord.”

In a speech to supporters May 7, Macri said he would seek re-election in July, ruling himself out as the PRO party candidate for president of the South American nation. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who hasn’t declared her intention to run, is likely to seek re-election, Fraga said. A poll last month on backing for potential candidates showed Fernandez had 46.3 percent support, followed by Macri with 13.5 percent and Alfonsin with 11 percent support, according to the survey of 1,200 people by CEOP Opinion Publica.

“The best place from which I can make a contribution to the country is from Buenos Aires,” Macri, 52, said at the rally in Buenos Aires. “I ask you to accompany me to finish what we have begun, that we continue to change the city as we have been doing.”

Macri said the PRO would have a “proposal” for the Oct. 23 election, without specifying whether the party would present its own candidate or reach an alliance with another opposition party.

Under Argentine law, a candidate can win the election and avoid a runoff by garnering 45 percent of votes, or by taking 40 percent of votes and having a 10 percentage point lead over the closest competitor.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Jarvie in Buenos Aires at rjarvie@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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