Argentina holds first presidential run-off election

Buenos Aires, Nov 22 (IANS/EFE) Argentina’s first presidential run-off election began on Sunday. The winner will succeed President Cristina Fernandez.

Polling opened across the South American country at 8 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m.

Some 32 million people are eligible to cast ballots in the run-off, which pits conservative Mauricio Macri, of the opposition Cambiemos coalition, against Peronist Daniel Scioli, the candidate of the ruling Front for Victory.

Macri and Scioli were the top two candidates in the first round of voting on October 25.

This is the first presidential run-off in Argentina since the current election system was implemented in 1994.

The 62-year-old Fernandez, a Peronist who has been in office for eight years, is barred by the constitution from running for presidency again until 2019.

More than 100,000 security forces members have been deployed across the country to maintain order at the 13,880 election precincts.

Each of the parties will have around 13,500 monitors working to ensure no irregularities occur during the election.

During the first round of voting last month, the opposition deployed thousands of people to monitor polling places in the wake of allegations of irregularities in the provincial elections held earlier this year.

The national elections office also took measures, including tighter identification controls at polling places, monitoring of trucks carrying voting materials with GPS and maintaining copies of election identification cards in triplicate, to ensure transparency.

Initial election results are expected starting at 7.30 p.m., national elections office director Alejandro Tullio said.

The winner will be inaugurated as Argentina’s president on December 10.



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