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Argentine president Cristina Fernandez wins re-election


08:42, October 24, 2011

Argentina's incumbent President Cristina Fernandez (R) votes at a polling station in Rio Gallegos, Argentina, Oct. 23, 2011. Cristina Fernandez was re-elected as Argentine President, according to national TV. (Xinhua/Telam)

BUENOS AIRES, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on Sunday won re-election after a solid victory with about 55 percent of the vote, the country's national television and private exit polls said.

At the election headquarters of the 58-year-old Fernandez, widow of Argentina's late former President Nestor Kirchner who died a year ago, wild celebrations broke out upon hearing the news being announced on national television.

"Friends, Cristina has been reelected,"announced a supporter at the Hotel Intercontinental in the capital, after which supporters and campaign workers both at the hotel and across town flocked to central squares waving with white and blue flags and setting off fireworks.

Exit polls released earlier in the day had all given Fenandez and her Victory Front Coalition a victory of about 55 percent of the vote, and local press and television all declared it a landslide and the biggest election victory since the end of the military rule in 1983. Some exit polls gave her as much as 57 percent of the vote.

Polling stations closed at 6 p.m. local time (2100 GMT) and voting in Argentina's general elections were peaceful, the National Office of the Electoral Processes (NOEP) said.

The other six presidential candidates all received less than 45 percent of the vote, according to sources at the NOEP, which has said it will release first official results at 9 p.m. local time ( 0000 GMT).

All seven Argentine candidates contesting in Sunday's general and presidential elections in the country had voted in what was reported to be an orderly and calm electoral process across the country.

Fernandez, after casting her vote in the remote city of Rio Gallegos over 2,600 kilometers south of the capital, expressed confidence that she would win re-election.

"When you look at what's happening in the world today you can be very proud to be Argentine," she told reporters after casting her vote.

Fernandez also got deeply emotional when speaking to reporters, her voice choking when she remembered her late husband Kirchner, who died of a sudden heart attack almost one year ago.

"I have very mixed feelings about so many things, I am happy for the way the elections are proceeding but I am also sad," she said before boarding a plane with her children to return to Buenos Aires.

Hermes Binner, the leader of the Socialist Party and the main opposition candidate for the Ample and Progressive Front, called for more Argentines to vote and be active in the democratic process.

"All elections are important but they have to be sustained by a much higher participation of the voters,"said Binner, who was voting in the city of Rosario some 300 kilometers from the capital. Binner has been running second to Fernandez in most polls with about 16 percent.

Running third in the polls was Eduardo Duhalde, president for Argentina from 2002-2003 and vice president under the 1989-1991 administration of Carlos Menem, and two times governor of Buenos Aires.

Duhalde, the candidate for the Popular Front and known as a Peronist conservative, said that whoever wins the elections "the result is not about death or alive but we have to support the person who wins."

Among Argentina's population of 40 million people 28.9 million were registered as eligible voters in Sunday's elections where besides choosing the president for the 2011-2015 term they also elected 130 members of the 257 seats in the country's parliament and 24 senators in eight provinces.


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