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Argentine opposition posts strong showing in regional elections

Credit: REUTERS/AGUSTIN MARCARIAN

Argentina´s opposition posted big wins in provincial elections on Sunday, months ahead of a presidential showdown pitting incumbent Mauricio Macri against a Peronist ticket that includes former President Cristina Fernandez in the No. 2 spot.

By Nicolás Misculin

BUENOS AIRES, June 16 (Reuters) - Argentina´s opposition posted big wins in provincial elections on Sunday, months ahead of a presidential showdown pitting incumbent Mauricio Macri against a Peronist ticket that includes former President Cristina Fernandez in the No. 2 spot.

The elections took place as a countrywide blackout left tens of millions without power in the South American nation . Voting was delayed but went ahead despite the outage.

Argentina faces an economic crisis that has plunged nearly a third of the country into poverty, pushed interest rates skyward and sent the peso tumbling against the dollar, prompting mass protests.

Peronists and center-left allies held strong leads in elections for governor in the provinces of Tierra del Fuego, Formosa and San Luis, early results showed. Polls showed a close race between a Peronist and a Socialist candidate in the province of Santa Fe.

The strong showing by the opposition in the provincial elections was broadly seen as a good sign for the Peronist presidential ticket led by Alberto Fernandez, although recent opinion polls showed the Peronists with only a slight lead over the center-right Macri ahead of the Oct. 27 vote .

(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Peter Cooney)

((dave.sherwood@thomsonreuters.com; +56 9 9138 1047, +56 2 2370 4224; Reuters Messaging: dave.sherwood.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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