Fernandez is heading into office on primaries in Argentina

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Reuters | Nicolás Misculin

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Leer en español: Fernández se encamina a la presidencia con golpe sobre Macri

The result could negatively impact the markets, which have Macri as their favorite candidate

Center-left opponent Alberto Fernández made an overwhelming difference over neo-liberal President Mauricio Macri on Sunday in the primaries of Argentina, which left him one step away from winning the presidency in the October elections.

With 98.7% of the tables scrutinized, Fernández obtained 47.7% of the votes, against 32.1% Macri coalition had, according to the official count.

The primaries are considered a precise survey of what could happen in the general elections of October in Argentina, where an economic crisis hit the image of Macri in the last year and revitalized Peronism in the opposition.

"I am sure that today Argentina gave a clear verdict ... Today we Argentines begin to build another story," Fernandez said to his followers around midnight on Sunday.

The result could negatively impact the markets, which have Macri as their favorite candidate and fear that Fernandez may turn towards greater state intervention.

"This is something nobody expected," Macri told a news conference after the results were known.

Before the regular opening of the exchange market, the peso plummeted 6.1% to 49 per dollar on Monday on the platform of the brokerage firm Balanz, which operates the currency online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"The vast victory of Alberto Fernández in the primary of Argentina paves the way for the return of left-wing populism that many investors fear," independent consultant Capital Economics said in a report.

"The bonds, stocks and the peso will be under severe pressure in the next few days. That said, currency falls could be mitigated by the exchange intervention", he added.

"Irreversible" result

In the key province of Buenos Aires, where about 37% of the country's voters are located, the candidate for the governance of the Frente de Todos, Axel Kicillof, obtained 49.3% of the votes, compared to 32.6% of the current governor, María Eugenia Vidal, who was considered the best electoral card of the ruling party.

The increase in inflation, unemployment and poverty - which could reach 35% this year - is Macri's weakness, in which many voters see, however, a driver of transparency and public works.

Read also: Cristina Fernández returns to the center of the electoral scene in a bid against Macri

"It is a shocking and practically irreversible result, which leaves the Government in a power vacuum in the middle of a very delicate economy. The main responsibility of both forces should be to guarantee governance over the campaign," said analyst Shila Vilker of the consultant Trespuntozero.

For political analyst Julio Burdman "there is no possibility" that the result will be reversed in October.

Fernández was tempted by ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner - of whom he was head of the Cabinet - to lead the opposition presidential formula. Fernández is a moderate politician who has managed to unite much of Peronism within the Frente de Todos coalition.

While the current president proposes to move forward with the opening of the economy and the adjustment of the State, Fernández is prone to greater state intervention to boost the domestic market and grow the activity, currently paralyzed.

The majority of the parties have already defined their main candidates before the primaries, who will compete for the presidency in the general elections of October 27, which will be settled in a ballot - on November 24 - if none of the candidates gets more 45 percent of the vote or 40 percent and a difference of 10 percentage points over the second.

In addition to the president, in the October elections the Argentines will elect deputies, senators, governors and local leaders.

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