Buenos Aires, Oct 28 (IANS) Argentine President Cristina Fernandez's ruling bloc was able to maintain majority in Congress with 33 percent of the vote in the mid-term elections, according to exit polls.
The elections began at 8 a.m. local time Sunday in more than 10,000 polling stations, Xinhua reported.
Voters cast ballots to fill 127 seats, nearly half the lower chamber of Congress and 24 seats, a third of the upper house, Senate.
Despite the overall victory, the governing Front for Victory was defeated by opposition lawmaker Sergio Massa, mayor of the Tigre municipality and the president's former cabinet chief, by a decisive 12-point margin in Buenos Aires province, where nearly 40 percent of Argentina's voters live.
This makes Massa, business-friendly leader of the Renewal Front, hopeful of running for presidential elections in 2015, when Fernandez is set to step down after two terms of office.
Analysts say the ruling bloc's losses in the capital and other populous provinces suggest growing unhappiness and a weakened presidency after 10 years in power.
Fernandez, 60, has seen her popularity slump as the business class was unsatisfied about her failure to control inflation and her protectionist economics, import restrictions, the nationalisation of companies and foreign exchange controls.
But the poor support the president for her fight against poverty, generous social welfare programs and higher retirement pensions.
Fernandez, who underwent a brain surgery Oct 8, was unable to campaign in the mid-term elections. She followed her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, as Argentine president. Kirchner was in office from 2003 to 2007.
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