While the primaries (called the “PASO” as a Spanish acronym) caught the country with surprising electoral upsets for the governing coalition,, Frente De Todos (Everybody’s Front), the similar results in the general election on 14 November were less shocking. The turnout was 5 per cent higher than the primary but below average (71%), although above the voting rates in Latin America. Blank votes went down on average but in some provinces such as La Rioja, San Luis and Mendoza voters turned in blank ballots at a higher rate than average.
The PASO results on 12 September that delivered electoral upsets to the government in power caused a subsequent crisis of Alberto Fernández’s ruling coalition. This led to major cabinet changes. The government celebrated the results of the general election mid-November, then, as a “comeback”: Fernández’s Frente de Todos managed to lessen margins in Buenos Aires, La Pampa and San Luis provinces and to reverse the results in El Chaco and Tierra del Fuego, as well as in several districts in the province of Buenos Aires. Nevertheless, this improvement does not cancel the net defeat of the government, which saw losses of the absolute majority in the Senate and holding of the largest representation in the Chamber of Deputies with only two seats more than the right-wing coalition (see Figure below).
The opposition, Juntos Por El Cambio (Together For Change), with a very pro-imperialist and anti-worker platform, reaffirmed its place as the alternative to Frente de Todos in the rotation of power typical of bourgeois democracy. Juntos secured around 40% of the vote for the third consecutive election. Even so, the landslide victory that they claimed would secure them the largest representation in the Chamber of Deputies did not happen. Unlike the previous election (2019), they achieved more favorable results in the PASO than in the general election.
The advance of the Liberals
In this election, the most novel phenomena were expressed both on the left and on the right. On the far-right, the Liberals, although they ran in only four districts, achieved significant growth in the City of Buenos Aires (CABA) and the Province of Buenos Aires, gaining five seats in the Chamber of Deputies. On the left, the electoral successes of the FITU (United Left and Workers Front).
Great election result for the left
The FITU obtained the highest vote since it was formed, with very high figures in some provinces. With 25 percent of the vote in Jujuy, FITU also won 8.52 per cent in Chubut, where our comrade Daniel Ruiz was a candidate for Senator, 8.18 per cent in Neuquén, and 7.76 per cent in the City of Buenos Aires. FITU won four seats for national deputies and, for the first time, councillors in six districts in the area on the outskirts of Buenos Aires called the “conurbano.” It is worth mentioning the high vote in districts with a high working-class concentration, such as La Matanza, Florencio Varela, Merlo, and José C. Paz, among others.
The PSTU has disputed the content of the FITU campaign on numerous occasions and the results are far from ending those debates, which will be continued in future articles. But, undoubtedly, from the perspective of the working people, this is a favourable outcome and the election, for the first time, of a native working-class representative, Alejandro Vilca, is worthy of celebration.
What to expect
Far from the uncertainty stirred up by the media, what is to come for the country was reaffirmed by Alberto Fernández’s (the Argentinian president) speech after the election result: an agreement with the IMF, which, undoubtedly, means more plunder, austerity and loss of achievements for the working people. The government is calling for “dialogue” and a new social pact.
The trade-union bureaucracy, with a brand-new triumvirate, is the architect of these anti-worker plans and only mobilises to support the government and its plan. We cannot expect them to fight against the same plans they support.
And along with that, of course, we should expect police repression to accompany the plan’s implementation. It is no coincidence that Daniel Ruiz and Cesar Arakaki were convicted and Sebastian Romero is still in prison for confronting the IMF’s plans: they are trying to teach the working class a lesson to stop the fights that are coming, and the justice system serves those ends. It is no coincidence that Facundo Molares was arrested the day before the conviction, at the request of the murderous Colombian government, and it is no coincidence that the repression of militant social movements has multiplied in recent weeks. The agreement with the IMF comes with austerity and repression and we have to brace ourselves for the confrontation.
We must start organising ourselves in every workplace, school, and neighbourhood to fight against the current and coming attacks with the broadest unity, to confront the agreement with the IMF, the Labour Reform, and the Social Pact. We must prioritize leading the fight for what we need and organising self-defence against repression. The fruits of the FITU vote should be at the service of these objectives. The PSTU is ready to continue the fight for these achievements.