Incumbent president concedes defeat in Argentine presidential election
BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Argentine President Mauricio Macri conceded defeat in the presidential election, congratulating rival Alberto Fernandez on winning election.
Fernandez, of the opposition Everyone's Front coalition, obtained nearly 48 percent of the vote compared to Macri's nearly 41 percent, with more than 90 percent of the ballots counted, the National Electoral Directorate said.
The results mean Fernandez won in the first round, with no need for a runoff. Argentine law requires a candidate to garner 45 percent or more of the vote to win outright, or 40 percent with a 10-point advantage over his closest rival.
At around 10:20 p.m. local time (1920 GMT), Macri took the stage at his campaign headquarters and called for a smooth transfer of power.
Fernandez, born in 1959, graduated from Law School at the University of Buenos Aires. He served as chief of the Cabinet of Ministers from 2003 to 2008.
In his victory speech, Fernandez, who will take office on Dec. 10, said his government will build the "solidarity and equality" that Argentinians yearn for.
The new government will work, so the outlook will improve "for small and medium-size businesses ... We are going to build the Argentina of solidarity and equality that we all dream of," said Fernandez.
"This front was born to include all Argentines," he added, referring to the name of his political alliance. However, he warned, "tough times are ahead."
He also called on the ruling party to cooperate once it becomes the opposition, "to help us rebuild the country out of the ashes they have left behind."
Earlier in the day, Fernandez struck a conciliatory tone by calling for an end to divisiveness and the idea of "them" versus "us," because "we are in a huge crisis and the responsibility for what is coming is enormous."
According to official data, inflation is running at 37.7 percent in the country, the debt burden represents 68 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), 35.4 percent of Argentinians live in poverty and the unemployment rate is in the double digits.
Argentina's 33.8 million eligible voters also elected 24 Senate members and 130 members of the Chamber of Deputies.