Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, absent with notice at the Frente de Todos bunker this election Sunday, will no longer have a bloc in the Senate that guarantees she can pull the strings at her own pace. Voters in key provinces have confirmed that Frente de Todos will now have 35 senators of its own, with 37 needed to achieve quorum.
The outcome was confirmed by the results in Santa Fe, La Pampa and Chubut, three provinces where the ruling party had expectations of turning around the results of the PASO primaries back in September and being able to retain the Senate seats up for renewal. However, the result was negative in all three races.
In addition, Tucumán could still be added to the opposition list. In the PASOs, the Peronists won by more than 10 points. Initial results show that lead stripped to two points.
And so, Kirchnerism has lost two senators in Chubut (where it had three senators and now will have only one) and one in Santa Fe and La Pampa (where it had two senators and also won the minority seat). Added to those lost in Cordoba, where it came third, and in Corrientes (where it renewed two and won only one), Frente de Todos will have six fewer senators overall. If they end up losing Tucumán, they will have just 34.
Juntos por el Cambio, for its part, takes all the senators that the ruling party loses. Thus, the opposition coalition goes from having 25 senators in its inter-party-bloc to 31 (or 32 if it ends up winning Tucumán.
For the government, rethinking will be required. It will need the support of senators who are circumstantially allies, such as Alberto Weretilneck (Río Negro), Magdalena Solari Quintana (Misiones), or Lucila Crexell )Movimiento Popular Neuquino), in order to reach quorum and thus start sessions and approve the bills that need a simple majority. The two-thirds required for major institutional reforms is now an unattainable distance away.
For Vice-President Fernández de Kirchner, this defeat is accentuated by the fact that two of her key supporters, with whom she had hoped to have in the chamber when the lists were closed, were left out. They are María Luz ‘Luchy’ Alonso, the administrative secretary of the Senate who was running second in La Pampa, and María de los Ángeles Sacnun, who was seeking to renew her number two seat in Santa Fe.