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President's party suffers defeat in Argentina elections

Most of the results from Sunday's congressional elections have been counted and recounted, and the outcome is clear: the ruling Peronist party, led by the president of Argentina and her husband, has suffered a defeat.

The party, officially called "the Justicialist Front for Victory," only garnered 30 percent of the national vote, according to the leading Clarin newspaper. As a result, they'll lose 22 seats in the 257-seat Chamber of Deputies when the new legislators take office in December. In the Senate, they'll lose the quorum that they needed to do the president's bidding without a fight.

The president's Peronists did win in a number of provinces. But not in the most important one, Buenos Aires province, where first gentleman Nestor Kirchner had rushed in to attempt a campaign coup. He has conceded defeat to his more right-wing opponent, Francisco de
Narvaez. The margin was only 2 percent — a couple hundred thousand votes — and
because of the proportional voting system, the Kirchners will still have their voices heard there. But the blow is a strongly symbolic one for a man who was once a wildly popular president.

Meanwhile, there's some good news for everybody: La Nacion, Argentina's second-largest newspaper, reports that there were less voting irregularities than expected. A few isolated complaints of ballot shortages and tampering have been made by the opposition. But these have not yet been confirmed, and for the most part things seem to have gone off smoothly.