Parliamentary Chamber: Cámara de Diputados


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  Cámara de Diputados

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  24 October 1999

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held to renew one-half of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  Twenty-four million Argentine citizens, including two million young people voting for the first time, turned out on Sunday, 24 October 1999 to elect a new President of the Republic along with half of the national deputies and the governors of six provinces, including Buenos Aires.

The voters elected as their President, Mr. Fernando de la Rua, Mayor of Buenos Aires, the opposition leader fielded by the Alianza, a centre-left coalition founded in 1997 by the Radical Civic Union and the National Solidarity Front (Frepaso). By doing so, they put an end to a decade of peronism, as embodied by Mr. Carlos Menem, the outgoing President. Up until the last minute, the latter had tried to run once again for the presidency, even though the Constitution categorically bars a third term.

The results of the partial renewal of the Chamber of Deputies confirmed the success of the Alianza coalition, which polled 43.6% of the votes and holds 127 out of 257 seats. Nevertheless, the new president will be obliged to accept sharing power with the peronists, who remained well entrenched in the country and hold a majority in the Senate. Yet he will have a key ally - Mr. Carlos Chacho Alvárez, the newly elected Vice-President who according to the Argentine Constitution will also be President of the Senate.

Despite the importance of these elections, which marked the consolidation of Argentine democracy sixteen years after the end of the military dictatorship as well as the end of a decade of peronist government, the electoral campaign was rather flat. There were no major debates, mass rallies or fine promises by the main candidates; nor were any major changes in course announced.

Mr. Fernando de la Rua and his Alianza coalition had come out in favour of implementing a smooth changeover and keeping the liberal economic model. They had promised social measures to promote education and health, the major concerns of the Argentine people, along with strict control of the budget and fiscal policy.

The peronist candidate, Mr. Duhalde, governor of the province of Buenos Aires and Mr. Menem's heir apparent, had sought to move away from the former Head of State during the electoral campaign, once again espousing the cause of social justice.

As soon as the results were announced, Mr. Fernando de la Rua promised to give priority to economic and social problems in a country where unemployment is running at 15%, where unemployment benefits are virtually non-existent and where the World Bank estimates that 13.2 million are living below the poverty threshold.

Round no 1 (24 October 1999): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 24 108 413
Voters 19 415 960 (81 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 775 127
Valid votes 18 640 833

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Alliance for Work, Justice and Education (UCR and FREPASO) 7 942 489 43.56
Justicialist Party (PJ) 6 143 925 33.70
Action for the Republic (AR) 1 386 103 7.60
Democratic progressive party (PDP) 287 791 1.58
Others n.a. n.a.

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Alliance for Work, Justice and Education (UCR and FREPASO) 63
Justicialist Party (PJ) 50
Action for the Republic (AR) 9
Democratic progressive party (PDP) 2
Others 6

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 189
Women: 68
Percent of women: 26.46

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Copyright © 1999 Inter-Parliamentary Union