The Argentine stock markets crashed after the Conservative Argentine President Mauricio Macri suffered a shock defeat in primary elections on Sunday.
Argentina’s main Merval stock index fell 32%, while the peso slumped 25% against the dollar. Markets were taken by surprise as polls were predicting a tight race; instead, Macri found himself lugging 16 points behind the opposition.
Most analysts now agree that the left-wing candidate Alberto Fernández is now likely to win the presidential elections due on October 27, given the resurgence of anti-austerity politics in Argentina. Alberto Fernández is running on the same ticket with former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
The question is now whether Macri could renegotiate with the International Monetary Fund in order to achieve a less austere budget, as the country is in recession, poverty affects 32% of the population and inflation stands at 22%.
Even if that were possible, the scope for a political rebound is narrowing given the deterioration of economic fundamentals. Macri’s election in 2015 was hailed as a chance for Argentina to open up its economy and fight endemic corruption, which has persisted for decades. This hope was accompanied by an IMF bailout program of $57bn. However, structural reforms have hurt the middle class, leading to a resurgence of anti-austerity politics.