Argentina enjoys the vote

Al Jazeera follows voters to the polling booths as the elections get under way.

    Argentina's 27.1 million registered voters are
    required to vote by law

    In La Recoleta, a wealthy neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, there was a sense of jubilation and positivity; a feeling that, despite the law making it mandatory for people to vote, and with the outcome likely to be heavily in favour of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, voters have enjoyed being part of the process.

    Polls opened in Argentina at 8am (1100 GMT) and more than 27 million people started to elect their new president.

    One 98-year-old lady using a wheelchair said of a young lady taking her time in the polling booth ahead of her: "Do you think she might have died in there?"

    Another voter, Maria Gowland, a porteña, or resident of Buenos Aires, said that she voted for Elissa Carrio, not only as a vote against Cristina, but as a vote in favour of strengthening Argentina's political system.

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    "I voted for Carrio because I think she's a strong figure to have in the opposition and this is a chance to out Cristina Kirchner.

    "I believe in her idea of restoring the political institutions in Argentina ... in terms of congress operating the way it should be. It's what she [Carrio] proposes.

    "And in spite of results of the past, we have to believe that we are able to rebuild the political force in this country in more democratic ways.

    "I think Cristina is using her husband's position as president to place herself in a position of power, and I don't like that attitude, and way of forcing herself upon the nation.

    "Let's hope that congress goes back to the way the Argentinian constitution establishes it should work," she said.

    Buenos Aires resident Maria Gowland said that
    she would not be voting for Kirchner
    But for one person, voting has not been so straighforward.

    Women and men are separated during the voting process and one indignant trans-sexual in central Buenos Aires complained she was made to stand in line to vote with the men.

    Without a system in which she can obtain a recognised form of identification as a woman for the vote - only the national ID is accepted - she was forced to vote away from her "female counterparts".

    "I am clearly a woman," she said. "But on my ID card, I still appear as a man so I have to go and vote with the men."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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