Americas It's 'for or against' Kirchner in Argentina - and its primary elections

As Argentines go to the polls today, the campaigns are laying bare a widening fissure that could become increasingly entrenched.

By , Correspondent

Richard Drew/AP

Sergio Massa marches down a corridor, casting aside his suit jacket and rolling up his shirtsleeves – as if preparing for a schoolyard tussle – before facing the camera: “If they want to fight, we’re going to fight,” he says.
That’s the controversial TV spot Mr. Massa, who is running for a congressional seat in Argentina’s upcoming midterm elections, chose for his campaign. But he is not the only politician to adopt an aggressive tone against the Front for Victory, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s ruling alliance.
“Her or you” is lawmaker Francisco de Narváez’s polarizing slogan. Meanwhile, the Front for Victory has implored voters to “choose love over hate” in today’s open primaries – in effect a mass poll for the decisive midterms on Oct. 27. The results will determine Kirchner’s level of support after a turbulent year of mass protests and unpopular economic policies.
The campaigns lay bare a widening fissure here between government supporters and critics that some warn could lead to long-term social and cultural divisions. “The polarizing dynamic has become impossible to control,” says Atilio Borón, a political author and sociologist in Buenos Aires.