The Kirchner family is not used to losing.
But this Sunday, during Argentina’s mid-term elections, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her Victory Party suffered their worst defeat since she and her late husband, Nestor, swept to power in 2003.
To put it in perspective, since 2011 (when Cristina was re-elected after her husband’s death saddened the nation) The Victory Party has lost 4 million votes, according to Clarin.
Back then, Kirchnerism — as the party’s political ideology is known — garnered 52% of the country’s support. In just two years that number has dwindled to 30% (around 6.8 million votes) as opposition parties around the country have picked up steam, even in areas once considered Kirchner strongholds.
This time around, three out of every four votes went to opposition candidates of various stripes and the Victory Party lost 13 of 23 provinces.
According to reports, the President has been laying low around the Capital.
So why the defeat? It’s not that hard to tell. In the last few years Argentina has suffered from serious inflation. Government estimates depart wildly from those of independant economists, who put the number somewhere around 20-25%.
No one expects that to change either. Here’s an excerpt from a Goldman Sachs note from last month:
Inflation is likely to remain entrenched above 20% during 2013-2014, given inertial pressures, the continuation of very accommodative monetary conditions, a deteriorating fiscal stance, and accelerating ARS [Argentina peso] depreciation. The monetary stance remains very lax (negative real interest rates), and the central bank continued to accommodate inflation at a very high level. In all, we expect the authorities to continue to subordinate low and stable inflation to fiscal and growth imperatives (severe fiscal dominance). This strategy is likely to lead to further pressure on the ARS to depreciate.
So it doesn’t look like voters are going to get any happier.