Macri Protege’s Win in Buenos Aires Still Means Run-off

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Opposition presidential hopeful Mauricio Macri saw his candidate win by a comfortable margin in elections for mayor of Buenos Aires, while failing to avoid a run-off.

Horacio Rodriguez Larreta of Macri’s PRO party had 45.6 percent of votes against 25.6 percent for the ECO alliance’s Martin Lousteau and 21.8 percent for Mariano Recalde of the national government’s Victory Front alliance with 92 percent of votes counted, according to the city government. Lousteau said he would compete in a second round, scheduled to take place on July 19, since Larreta failed to gain a majority.

Macri, mayor of the city for two four-year terms, described the election as a plebiscite on his presidential bid as he seeks to end 12 years of government by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband Nestor Kirchner. The question now is whether Lousteau can attract enough of the votes cast for Fernandez’s Victory Front alliance to overcome Larreta’s 20-point margin.

“This is a clear message of confidence in what we’ve been doing,” Macri said in a speech to supporters after results were announced. “This is part of something much bigger that’s happening in all of the country.”

Lousteau, whose alliance includes members of the Radical Party and the Civic Coalition that is allied with Macri at a national level, denied suggestions by the PRO party that he might decline to contest a run-off.

“Today the residents of Buenos Aires decided that there will be a run-off,” Lousteau told supporters. “With a run-off, we all win.”

Elections also took place Sunday in Cordoba province, Argentina’s second-largest voting district, and La Rioja province, where not enough votes had been counted to declare a winner. Corrientes province voted for provincial lawmakers and senators while La Pampa province held primaries to choose candidates for governor.

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