When there are elections in Argentina, what do you vote for and what is at stake?

(CNN Spanish) –– In 2023, citizens choose who will be their new president starting December 10, when Alberto Fernández’s term ends.

But this is not the only election in the country this year: a large part of the seats in the Chambers of Deputies and Senators are also renewed, and there is a vote to elect the governor in 21 of the 23 provinces that make up the territory, in addition to the head of the government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.

In Argentina, voting is compulsory for those over the age of 18 up to the age of 70. But from the age of 16 and after the age of 70 this right can be exercised optionally.

Electoral calendar 2023: what, how and when?

National elections: the dates to take into consideration

The National Electoral Chamber of Argentina approved the electoral program for the upcoming elections this Thursday.

  • Open primary, concurrent and compulsory (PASO): August 13. The much-discussed PASSO, of opposition and government party who are on one side or the other of the counter-façade, takes place on the second Sunday of August of the electoral year. In this case, those within the political spaces are regulated to define who will be the candidates for elected office for each party. Pre-candidates must win a minimum of 1.5% of the vote to advance in the general election. The question surrounding primaries is whether it actually makes sense for them to be held, since political spaces often feature only one candidate.
  • General elections: October 22nd. They are celebrated on the fourth Sunday of October and the presidential formula and national legislators are chosen. Also, some provinces adhere to this calendar and hold their own elections for local offices. In the event that no candidate for the presidency reaches the necessary majority, i.e. 45% of the votes or 40% and a difference of 10% compared to the rest of the candidates, a runoff is held.
  • Possible ballot: 19 November. It is convened within 30 days of the general election. The two candidates with the most votes participate and the one with the most votes wins.
  • Presidential debates, mandatory by law: October 1 and 8. Since the end of 2016, it has been stipulated that candidates who pass the primaries must participate in two televised debates. One must be held in a provincial capital determined by the National Electoral Chamber. In the event of a runoff, there will be another debate between these two candidates on November 12.

Deputies and Senators: how many are renewed and when are they elected?

In addition to the presidential formula, president and vice president, the replacement of half of the lower house, i.e. 130 national deputies, and a third of the upper house, i.e. 24 national senators, is defined in the general elections in October.

For national deputies, the renewal of seats is distributed among the following jurisdictions: 35 for the Province of Buenos Aires, 12 for the City of Buenos Aires, 10 for Santa Fe, 9 for Córdoba and 5 for Mendoza and Tucumán.

In the case of Senators, there are 8 provinces: Buenos Aires, Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones, La Rioja, San Luis, Santa Cruz and San Juan.

Provincial elections: the particularities of each locality

Of the 23 provinces that make up Argentine territory, this year 21 elect the governor and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires defines who will be its head of government at the end of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s mandate. In addition, some local rates are renewed.

The provinces can adhere to the national calendar or carry out the call for elections.

The Pampa was charged with ushering in the election year. The primaries were held on February 12. The election of the governor and local offices is scheduled for May 14. It should be noted that not all jurisdictions have STEP instances. This is the case of Río Negro and Neuquén, which already defined their governorate and local offices on 16 April. On May 7, despite having no previous detentions, it was the turn of Misiones, La Rioja and Jujuy. San Juan, Salta, Tucumán and Tierra del Fuego went straight to elections on May 14. St. Louis, June 11th. That same day, Mendoza made his primary appeal and settles governorship and local positions on September 24. For his part, Santa Fe called the primary on July 16 and the general one on September 10.

With no intervening instances, the call for Chaco is September 17th. Local elections in Chubut will be held on July 30. Córdoba held provincial elections on June 25, while municipal ones will be held on July 23. Formosa also had its elections on June 25th.

While the provinces of Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Ente Ríos, Santa Cruz and the City of Buenos Aires adhere to the national calendar and will participate in the polls on the aforementioned dates: 13 August and 22 October.

Santiago del Estero y Corrientes elected governor in 2021.

There is still a long way to go until the next president is elected and inaugurated. Many settlements are pending and a frenetic process of litigation inside and outside the parties is expected. What is also true is that, albeit with twists and turns, it is still the exercise of a vital right, especially on the 40th anniversary of the return to democracy in a country that has experienced a bloody dictatorship.

Editor’s note: this article was updated on July 20, 2023.

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