Argentina: Surprise at the Ballot Box

Surprise at the Ballot Box

It was the sort of electoral verdict that sitting Presidents dread. In balloting that is certain to complicate the life of Argentine President Raul Alfonsin between now and the end of his six-year term in 1989, the opposition Peronists captured 16 of the 21 governorships at stake and swept away the ruling Radical Civic Union's absolute majority in the 254-seat lower house of Congress. The Radicals now hold 117 seats, the Peronists an unnerving 105.

The Radicals tried to downplay the resurgence of the blue collar-based Peronist movement. "We knew it was coming," said Edgardo Catterberg, a party pollster. "There was...