Argentine voters punish Peronists in midterm vote

Argentina’s ruling party lost its majority in Congress for the first time in nearly 40 years after a midterm election on Sunday.

Two years ago, the Peronist party handily won out over the conservative opposition.

But this vote, they lost on almost all key races on the ballot, tasting defeat even in the capital city and political stronghold of Buenos Aires.

The city’s opposition-party Mayor, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, revelled in the victory.

"We have had a historic election in Buenos Aires Province. We have won again thanks to voters. Thank you, I know it's because they want a change. They are going through a bad time, insecurity, and unemployment.

Voters appeared to turn away from the centre-left government amid spiralling inflation and poverty rates exacerbated by the global health crisis.

President Alberto Fernandez in an address to the nation called for “patriotic” cooperation from the opposition, which will now be needed to push laws through Congress.

"We need the majority to forge a consensus. With respect to this, and as soon as possible, I am going to approach representatives of the popular will and the political forces that represent them to agree on a shared agenda. A responsible opposition and one which is open to dialogue is an opposition that is patriotic.”

The major defeat comes as pressure builds to strike a new deal with the International Monetary Fund to roll over nearly $50 billion in debt the country can’t afford to pay.

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