As the midterm elections slowly begin to loom large along the horizon, Argentina is poised to see much more of the politicians who intend to get a seat in Congress this October. You know the drill. Get read to hear a slew of candidates on the radio — try futilely to block out the jingle that will follow and will almost inevitably be so bad that it will get stuck in your head for weeks. And then there are the television ads and many, many billboards in the districts in this political lot will compete in.
As of today we know that we’ll see at least AR $243 million worth of this kind of campaign propaganda, as the government will distribute this sum among the political parties that will compete in the primary and general elections, in order to guarantee campaigning funds are available to every party.
The decision was published today in the Official Bulletin and specifies that the State will distribute AR $81 million for the primaries and AR $162 for the general election. This number represents an increase of over 300 percent compared to the funds that went to the last midterms, when the state gave the parties AR $72 million in total.
The resolution indicates that, in accordance to Argentine law, the competing parties “will have the right to receive contributions to their electoral campaigns” and therefore “it’s necessary they have enough time and indispensable economic means” to cover their expenses.
In order to compete in a party’s primary elections, a prospective candidate has to present the Electoral Chamber with the endorsement of no less than two percent of the voters of the territory where he or she intends to run, or two percent of the number of affiliates of the party which they intend to represent.
While this sum will be vital for some of the smaller parties, it will surely be a small percentage of what the main contenders to take most seats in Congress are ready to spend. According to figures released by the National Electoral Chamber (CNE), the Cambiemos coalition spent almost AR $130 million in 2015’s presidential campaign, while the Victory Front (FpV) — which will probably compete under the historic Justicialist Party (PJ) name in October — put out AR $96 to try to get Daniel Scioli elected.