Big victory for moderate Peronism in key local race
Although the provincial elections being held in the run-up to the October presidential polls largely reflect local issues and political structures, their results do have some significance at the national level. Firstly, MrSchiaretti's overwhelming victory in Córdoba cements his status as a key player among moderate Peronists and a potential "kingmaker" with the potential to influence the moderate Peronists' race for the presidency. According to preliminary results, MrSchiaretti got a whopping 54.1% of the vote, up from 40% in 2015, although this was partly because, unlike in 2015, the Kirchnerist wing of the Peronist party did not present a candidate.
Secondly, the Córdoba race will serve as a warning shot to the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR), thejunior party in the ruling Cambiemos coalition, that divisions will do nothing to benefit the party. In Córdoba, two UCR candidates ran, splitting the vote. MarioNegri, the official candidate supported by Cambiemos, got 17.8% of the vote and RamónMestre, who challenged Mr Negri, got 11%. Themost damage from this split came in Córdoba city (Argentina's second-biggest city), where the UCR lost the mayoral race to the Peronists for the first time in decades.
Finally, the race does suggest, at present, that Cambiemos has lost momentum, and that a centrist Peronist candidate could stand a chance in October. Although Córdoba is not representative of voting patterns nationwide, the ruling coalition's loss in vote share between 2015 (when Cambiemos got 33.8% of the vote) and 2019 is clear.
For centrist Peronism, though, the challenge of finding the right candidate, who can win votes nationwide and unify a divided political force, persists. Forthe government, it will be helpful that the Córdoba local elections were not held alongside the presidential poll; this still leaves the president, Mauricio Macri, the chance to attract some of MrSchiaretti's votes.
Impact on the forecast
Our political assumption of a win for Mr Macri is unchanged, but a continued loss of momentum in local races could prove damaging; we will be watching other key races closely, as well as the efforts of moderate Peronism to find a vote-winning candidate, and the trajectory of the economy, which we believe will be the key factor in the presidential vote.