October 27, 1997 in Nation/World

Argentina Votes For Change, Early Poll Results Show

Compiled From Wire Services

Argentina’s opposition headed for victory in congressional elections Sunday, with voters opting for change despite the strong economic record of President Carlos Menem’s Peronist Party.

With nearly three-quarters of the votes counted nationwide, the two opposition parties that form the center-left Alliance had 46 percent, compared to 36 percent for the Peronists.

Menem’s party appeared on the verge of losing its majority in the Lower House of Congress, a result that will force it to increase negotiations with the opposition to pass its legislation.

Interior Minister Carlos Corach acknowledged the voting showed “a clear tendency” favoring The Alliance, composed of the centrist Civic Radical Union and the left-leaning Frepaso coalition. The official tally reflected the results of exit polling conducted by television network Channel 13, predicting The Alliance would defeat the Peronists in key Buenos Aires province, 49 percent to 42 percent.

Until now, the province has been a Peronist fortress where 40 percent of the electorate lives.

In the capital itself, a separate voting district, The Alliance received 62 percent, while the Peronists were a distant second with 15 percent, the exit poll said.

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