Former Argentinean President Nestor Kirchner (2003 to 2007) resigned from his position as leader of the Peronist party on Monday in the aftermath of Sunday’s defeat in national congressional elections. He was replaced by Buenos Aires Governor Daniel Scioli. Mr. Kirchner also lost his own race for a congressional seat in Buenos Aires.
The Peronist government lost majorities in both the 72-member Senate and 257-member Chamber of Deputies (see full election results here). This came despite Mr. Kirchner warning voters that a Peronist loss would translate into “chaos” for Argentina, which has suffered from the global economic crisis. The party’s election losses, widely viewed as a plebiscite on the presidency of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, will hamper her ability to pass legislation through Congress and may create an opening for a new field of presidential candidates in 2011. She is now expected to re-shuffle her cabinet to put a fresh face on the administration.
The election took place four months earlier than was originally scheduled in what most analysts agree was the party’s attempt to consolidate power before the economic situation deteriorates further.