BUENOS AIRES - Argentine opposition leader Alberto Fernandez has declared victory in the country’s presidential election after the first round of voting.

According to data from Argentina’s National Electoral Directorate, Mr Fernandez is ahead with 48% of votes compared to incumbent Mauricio Macri’s 40.4% with over 95% of votes counted.

“We (Mr Fernandez and Mr Macri) will collaborate in everything we can because the only thing that we will focus on is to stop the suffering of all Argentinians,” said Mr Fernandez in his victory speech, Sunday (27/10).

“We are going to be the Argentina we deserve to be.”

The 2019 Argentine general election was held amid an escalating economic crisis in the country, with Mr Macri having introduced austerity measures such as raising taxes and cutting fuel subsidies. His government was also forced to seek a US$ 50 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year.

A lawyer by profession, Mr Fernandez ran on a centre-left platform through the Justicialist Party, a political party widely considered to be carrying the ideological legacy of Juan and Eva Peron. His running mate in the election is former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was in office from 2007 to 2015.

Mr Fernandez is scheduled to officially take office on December 10. (MS)