La Pampa, Argentina’s central province with 10 times more cows than people, frequently goes beneath the radar of major political parties fighting for votes.
The region’s breezy plains, filled with cattle, have, nevertheless, become a significant battleground in the upcoming midterm elections, which take place on Sunday. La Pampa is a swing state that has the potential to change the balance of power in Congress, influencing legal reforms and a new $45 billion arrangement with the International Monetary Fund.
After a tight victory four years ago, the ruling Peronist party of center-left President Alberto Fernandez retains two Senate seats in La Pampa, compared to one for the conservative opposition.
However, La Pampa voters are enraged by a beef export embargo imposed to reign in skyrocketing inflation, and they punished the Peronists in a September primary vote considered as a dry run for the midterm elections.
If the primary election results are duplicated on Sunday, the opposition would gain two seats, potentially erasing the Peronists’ overall Senate majority, which they have had since 1983, when Argentina regained democracy.
“The closure of meat exports signified a before and after in the connection of agricultural producers with Peronism,” said Maximiliano Aliaga, a cattle rancher and crop farmer from La Pampa.