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Argentina's Fernandez leads Buenos Aires Senate race: poll

From Reuters - August 10, 2017

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's leftist ex-President Cristina Fernandez leads the candidate for President Mauricio Macri's coalition in the Senate race for politically-crucial Buenos Aires province, a poll showed on Thursday.

Fernandez, who as president spooked foreign investors but was popular with Argentina's poor, got 32.2 percent of voter intention for Sunday's primary vote ahead of October midterm legislative elections, according to the poll by Buenos Aires consultancy Management & Fit.

Sunday's vote, in which no major candidate faces a challenger, is seen as a dry run for the final election and areferendum on fiscal austerity and market-friendly policies Macri put in place since taking office in 2015.

Former Education Minister Esteban Bullrich, the candidate for Macri's 'Let's Change' coalition, came in second in the poll with 28.1 percent.

While the race will not fundamentally change the balance of power in a divided Congress, a victory by Fernandez could pressure prices of Argentine assets on chances she might return to power in the 2019 presidential election.

Fernandez was known for interventionist policies and trade restrictions during her two terms in office from 2007 to 2015, as well as generous welfare spending.

A strong showing by Macri's coalition in Sunday's vote would reassure investors that his government will have the capacity to pass further reforms.

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