Argentines Re-elect Buenos Aires Mayor and Governor

Argentine voters re-elected the mayor and the governor of the country’s biggest city and state, helping consolidate President Nestor Kirchner’s political power, who endorsed both candidates.

Anibal Ibarra, mayor of the city of Buenos Aires, defeated challenger Mauricio Macri in a runoff vote 52.3 percent against 47.7 percent, according to official figures from the National Electoral Commission, with 14.3 percent of the vote counted.

Buenos Aires province Governor Felipe Sola, of the governing Peronist Party, won with 52 percent of the vote over his rivals, exit polls showed, according to the Clarin newspaper online edition.

Both results are victories for Kirchner, who won general elections in April with only 22 percent of the vote, because they will give him political allies needed to help him carry out its policies in the country’s two most important districts, said economist Jose Luis Espert, who runs economic research organization Espert & Asoc.

“This is a tremendous boost to Kirchner’s political power,” Espert said. “These elections, coupled with the recent aid accord with the IMF, will give Kirchner a very strong mandate.”

The International Monetary Fund last week agreed to roll over $12.3 billion in debt owed by Argentina over the next three years.

The city of Buenos Aires has the highest income per-capita in Argentina and the second-largest budget, behind that of the province of Buenos Aires. The province of Buenos Aires has the country’s biggest gross domestic product, producing about 25
percent of the country’s goods and services.