Argentina's ruling coalition set to lose midterm election

Frente de Todos on track to lose majority in Senate.

Argentina's ruling coalition set to lose midterm election

Argentina’s ruling Peronist coalition is set to finish poorly in midterm elections Sunday, according to initial results, with Frente de Todos on track to lose its majority in the Senate -- something the party has held for close to four decades.

With over 80% of the votes counted, the conservative opposition party Juntos por el Cambio was ahead in most districts and on track to win key Senate battles.

Some 127 of the 257 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, or lower house of the Argentine National Congress, were up for grabs alongside 24 of the Senate’s 72 seats.

The loss means the ruling coalition will likely experience difficulties pushing through key legislation.

Following the initial results, President Alberto Fernandez said in a pre-recorded public address that he wanted to share "some reflections.”

"With this election, a very hard phase for our country ends, which was marked by two crises. [One is] the economic crisis inherited from the previous government, which still has challenges to resolve. Another [is] the health crisis caused by a pandemic that we are gradually overcoming," he said.

Voting got underway at 8 a.m. locally with around 34 million citizens registered to vote at more than 101,000 polling stations.

Fernandez cast his vote in the morning, accompanied by first lady Fabiola Yáñez.

After polling stations closed around 6 p.m., Interior Minister Eduardo de Pedro said the turnout was around 71% on Sunday, beating the 67% from September's primaries -- the lowest since Argentina returned to democracy.

After voting closed Sunday evening, Vice-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced on Twitter that she would not be present for the results, writing that she had been advised to rest. The influential politician and former president has recently had health issues, although she has participated on the campaign trail.

In the lead-up to the polls, analysts had suggested the midterm elections would likely follow September's primary results, where the ruling coalition lost across most districts.

A midterm defeat will likely complicate Fernandez's plans for the second half of his term as president.