Two UK by-elections and Argentine election live

Two UK by-elections today in Conservative-held seats. Also covered: Argentina likely to elect a far-right candidate president.

Live Commentary

4:55pm I’ve found the official results here. It’s currently 36.7% Massa, 30.0% Milei and 23.8% for the conservative Bullrich. A centrist alliance has 6.8% and a far-left alliance 2.7%. So Milei and Bullrich combined have 53.8%. That’s with 98.5% of precincts reporting. You can also see the parliamentary results at that link. The presidential runoff between Massa and Milei will be on November 19.

1:12pm With 95% counted, Massa leads Milei by 36.4-30.1. Despite Massa’s stronger than expected performance, I still think Milei is the favourite in the runoff given the 23.6% for the conservative candidate, whose votes are likely to go to him.

11:57am I’m not sure where the official results are, but Wikipedia now shows 85.7% counted and Massa leading Milei by 36.2% to 30.3%.

11:25am First official results, with 76% counted, centre-left Massa (36%) leads far-right Milei (31%) and conservative Bullrich (24%). Massa and Milei likely to go to a runoff, although if remaining votes pushed Massa over 40% he would win outright by exceeding 40% and getting at least 10% more than the runner-up.

9:49am According to Bloomberg, partial results that have been leaked show the centre-left incumbent Economic Minister Sergio Massa doing “better than expected”, perhaps leading the presidential vote count.

8:57am Monday: According to this Bloomberg live blog, no official Argentine results are likely until 10:30pm local time (12:30pm AEDT).

1:24pm I’ll put this live commentary to sleep until Monday morning, when the Argentine results come in.

1:22pm Labour won Mid Beds by 3% despite a 23% vote for the Lib Dems.

1:18pm Labour GAIN Mid Bedfordshire from the Tories. Details to come.

1:15pm In Tamworth the three candidates behind Labour and the Tories were all far-right, and got a combined 9.4% of the vote.

12:50pm 20%+ gain for Labour in Tamworth and drop for the Tories, with far-right Reform getting 5.4%.

12:47pm Friday: Labour GAINS Tamworth from the Tories. Vote details to follow.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Polls close at 8am Friday AEDT for two UK by-election in the Conservative-held seats of Mid Bedfordshire (MBeds) and Tamworth. MBeds MP Nadine Dorries announced she would resign after Boris Johnson quit parliament in June, but delayed this until late August. Tamworth MP Chris Pincher was accused of sexual misconduct and resigned before a recall petition.

At the 2019 election, the Conservatives won MBeds by 59.8-21.7 over Labour with 12.6% Liberal Democrats. They won Tamworth by 66.3-23.7 over Labour with 5.3% Lib Dems. A mid-September poll had MBeds tied at 29% each between the Conservatives and Labour, but a high Lib Dem vote of 22% could allow the Conservatives to win.

Most UK national polls give Labour a 14-20 point lead over the Conservatives. There has been a recent slight narrowing in Labour’s lead. At the 2019 election, the Conservatives defeated Labour by 11.5% nationally.

Far-right candidate likely to win Argentine presidential election

Legislative and presidential elections will be held in Argentina on Sunday, with a November 19 presidential runoff if no candidate wins at least 45%, or at least 40% and is at least 10% ahead of their nearest opponent. Primary elections to choose the parties’ candidates occurred on August 13. As voting is compulsory, the overall vote shares for the parties are seen as good guides to the outcome of the October vote.

Far-right candidate Javier Milei’s party topped the primary poll with 30.0%, followed by the conservative Together for Change (TfC) with 28.3% and the centre-left incumbent Union for the Homeland (UftH) with 27.3%. Milei is an admirer of Donald Trump and has called climate change a “socialist lie”.

Argentina has been suffering from over 100% inflation. Polls suggest that TfC is now running third behind UftH and Milei. While Milei is unlikely to win on Sunday, he should get TfC support in the runoff, and win the runoff. If UftH is eliminated on Sunday, the runoff will be between two right-wing candidates.

In legislative elections, 130 of the 257 members of the Chamber of Deputies are up for election using proportional representation in 24 multi-member electorates based on the provinces with a 3% threshold. In the Senate, 24 of the 72 are up for election, with eight provinces holding Senate elections. The party winning the most votes in a province wins two senators and the second party one.

Argentine polls close at 8am Monday AEDT. I believe this Reuters article implies that local media need to wait until 11am AEDT before projecting winners.

Polish election final results, Ecuador and US House Speaker

I covered Sunday’s Polish election on Monday. Final seat results gave the coalition led by Law and Justice (PiS) 194 of the 460 seats in the Sejm (lower house) (down 41 since 2019), the liberal conservative Civic Coalition 157 seats (up 23), the centrist Third Way coalition 65 (up 35), the Left 26 (down 23) and the far-right Confederation 18 (up seven). An alliance between Civic Coalition, Third Way and Left would have 248 seats, above the 231 required for a majority.

The 100 senators are elected by first past the post, but parties opposed to PiS agreed to run only one candidate per marginal seat. This “Senate Pact” gave the opposition 65 seats to 34 for the PiS coalition, out from 51-48 to the opposition in 2019.

At last Sunday’s Ecuadorian presidential runoff, Daniel Noboa, the son of a banana tycoon, defeated the left-wing Luisa González by a 51.8-48.2 margin. As these elections were called early by the previous conservative president who faced impeachment, Noboa will serve only until early 2025 when a regular election is due. At a referendum held with the August 20 general election, voters approved a ban on oil drilling in a national park by 59-41.

It’s two weeks since Republican Kevin McCarthy was ousted as US House Speaker. Republicans nominated right-winger Jim Jordan for Speaker, but in two rounds of voting on Wednesday and Thursday AEDT, he won 199-200 votes while Democrat Hakeem Jeffries had 212 votes. With both short of the 217 needed to win, voting will continue.

39 comments on “Two UK by-elections and Argentine election live”

  1. I imagine a lot of politicians in the UK are holding their breaths to see what results the by-elections will bring tomorrow.

    If the Conservatives lose both, Rishi Sunak is probably going to be in big trouble. If they narrowly hold one or both, that might be about what they’re expecting. And if they comfortably hold both, that will probably begin to agitate Labour against Keir Starmer. Also if they retain MBeds only because of a split vote between Labour and Lib Dems then that’ll cause friction between those two parties.

    On Argentina, I have a few online friends from there. They’re not overly political, as most millennials tend to be, but all three of them really dislike the ongoing inflation crisis and just want an end to it. They regard Trump as an embarrassment though and would probably lean toward the centre-right TfC instead of the far-right Milei, that is if they care enough to vote at all. They probably will though, since voting is compulsory in Argentina.

  2. BBC estimates 01.30 – 02.00 for Mid Beds and 03.30 . 04 .00 for Tamworth results UK time.

    They have live updates on their website and a TV special starting just after midnight.

    Depending on turnout and recounts of course

  3. Tamworth is probably the more likely Labour gain (although in percentage terms a bigger Conservative majority) but in the 2019 General Election the Liberal Democrats were barely above 5% in third, so it’s very much a two horse race, and Labour won all eight council seats in May, and had a swing in their favour defending a council by-election two weeks ago. It was also a Labour seat from 1996-2010 (initially known as SE Staffordshire). Mid Bedfordshire has never been anything but Conservative in anything like its current incarnation. The feeling seems to be that the Conservatives are slight favourites because of a split opposition vote between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, but will be struggling to get above a third of the vote.

  4. Mid Beds Turnout = 44%

    Tamworth = 35.9%

    Lib Dem campaign organiser saying Labour only won Mid Beds because the Lib Dems took Tory votes.

    Which is a laugnable thing to say even for the Lib Dems!

  5. Tamworth is the spiritual birth place of the Conservative party, dating from Robert Peel’s Tamworth Manifesto in 1834

  6. Apparently the Conservative candidate for Tamworth, Andrew Cooper rushed off the stage and left the venue immediately via the closest fire exit without shaking the Labour candidate’s hand.

    Sore loser.

  7. The UK Tories are looking like they are about to get wiped out as an effective force. No wonder Sunak is dragging it out. There is no chance of them recovering from where they are. There is no wonder left who knows how to govern and all they have left are crazy right wingers spouting “populist” policies which aren’t that popular.

    The bet wetters on the Labour side are worried that they won’t get a majority but the real worry should be how to deal with a majority 150 seats (for example when there is a blow out there is always someone embarrassing elected by accident).

    The other issue is what state is the UK going to be in when Labour gets control. The country is broken in so many ways it is like Humpty Dumpty, that all the kings horses and all the kings men won’t be able to put it together again.

  8. It would be interesting if they try to drag the next election out all the way to January 2025, which is the latest possible date. They have done it before, counting down the clock and delaying the inevitable back in 1997 as they rode out scandal after scandal, but this time around might have different conditions, in that they’ve had 3 PM’s since the last one, and John Major seemed to have a stable leadership for the whole term from 92-97, something that Sunak doesn’t have.

    I’m guessing whoever is PM will call an election around May 2024.

  9. Although the election could technically be in January 2025, it unlikely even Sunak would drag it out past the new year (2025) as that would mean parliament would dissolve on the 19th of December 2024. Nobody wants to be campaigning over the Christmas/New Year break.
    I definitely can see it being dragged out to November or early December next year. Sunak and his crew are never going to get another go at the job so he might decide to bleed the country for its worth.

  10. Kirksdale – John Major was challenge in his second terms and there was a leadership election on July 4 1995. According to Wikipedia:
    “Major easily won both an outright majority and the necessary 15% margin. After leaving office, he revealed that he had set a private minimum target of 215 votes, which he had exceeded by only three, and stated that he had made up his mind to resign outright if he had failed to meet this threshold.”

  11. @B.S. Fairman

    I see, thanks for clearing that up.

    Also if 2024 is another 1997, this may be the sign of there being a few “Portillo moments” where senior Tory ministers surprisingly lost their safe seats, most notably Michael Portillo, who was widely expected to succeed John Major as leader in the aftermath but was unable to.

    I hope Jacob Rees-Mogg is one of them, that’d wipe that smug smirk off his face.

    Although I do wonder what Boris Johnson’s plans are now that he’s out of parliament? Perhaps planning for a return at the 2029 election? If so, he would be getting on a bit in the years, he’d be 65 then.

  12. I’ve always felt a 3 year term for federal governments here was too short, but clearly the UK shows that 5 years is too long.

    4 years!

  13. Will be interesting to see how the Reform Party performs, with the decline of the SNP and relative stagnation of the Lib Dems.
    Mathematically, I don’t see Labor winning every lost Tory seat nor do I see Conservative voters whilst disillusioned with the Tories voting for Labor or Lib Dems.
    Leaves 2 options: staying home or voting for another right-wing party.
    Could see some defections in the Lords to Reform post Sunak leadership.

  14. A probable Milei Presidency will come at an opportune time given world events.
    Given there has never been a pure Libertarian leader of a country in recent history, I’m curious to see what will work and what doesn’t work from perceivably a theoretical political party/doctrine

  15. The UK election won’t take place until the new boundaries have come into existence.

    Whilst parties have been selecting candidates and reorganising themselves based on them the boundaries aren’t legal yet.

    Government lawyers are currently translating the 4 boundary commissions recommendations into Orders in Council for the King to sign and legally that’s supposed to happen by the end of the month.

    As to May 2024 it has the advantage of local government elections in many parts of the England (including the Mayor for London) on the 2nd but having the general on the same day would likely lead to a further rout of Tories from local government in England.

    Luckily for the Tories there aren’t any other by-elections imminent other than in Wellingborough (another but that requires (a) the MPs 10+ day suspension to be confirmed by the House and (b) him losing the recall election which has a six week timescale (because he’s unlikely he’ll resign). That’s a seat where in 2018 the Tory got 62% of the vote (over Labours 26%) and has an 18.5k majority.

  16. Not only did the Tories Lise the 2 parliamentary seats on Thursday they also lost all three council seats they were defending – 2 to the Greens, 1 to the Lib Dems. Tories really on the nose.

    The only other council by election saw a narrow retain for a local resident party over the Lib Dems.

  17. B.S. Fairman says:
    Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 4:01 pm
    “I love the smell of letters to the 1922 Committee in the morning….”

    Shows how up to date the Tories are – more than a century out of date.

  18. Context to those who don’t know – The 1922 Committee is name the Conservatives have for their parliamentary party grouping which meets once a week. Technically, it is supposed to be only backbench MPs as the front bench MPs meet separately. Letters from 15% of the current MPs need to be sent to chairman to trigger a leadership contest in the party. At the moment it is presumed that some letters have been sent about Sunak from some MPs, but only the Chairman Sir Graham Brady would actually know.

    The name comes from the meeting of MPs who in 1922 meet and decided to split from the coalition government of David Llyod George. This government was a combination of Liberals, Conservatives and Labour MPs who combined during the First World War to present a united front. Anyway, 4 years after the war was over this government was still going and the conservative MPs had had enough, had a meeting and the government fell. This is seen as the rebirth of the Conservative party who had been out of office since 1905.

  19. Interesting system that the Argentinians have – It is not quite a run off system and it is not quite a first past the post. A bit like Argentinians themselves – a bit mixed.

  20. The run off result will depend on where Bullrich’s votes go. Although her party is politically Conservative I do not see it as Libertarian, particularly not “nut case” Libertarian. On the other hand Massa has been busy buying votes with tax cuts and social programs which contradict what he told the IMF.

    It will be interesting to see what advice Bullrich offers her supporters.

    Whether they listen is another question.

    I was in Argentina for the last election and was told (after the initial round) that Argentinians love backing a winner. This turned out to be true in the run off.

    If Milei is seen as favourite he may well attract votes in a sort of self fulfilling strategy.

  21. Further to my earlier post, the media and analysts have started the discussion on “what happens to Bullrich’s votes in the run off”.

    It is worth noting that there were 2 other unsuccessful candidates. These were Juan Schiaretti (dissident Peronist) and Miriam Bergman (Socialist) who attracted 6.8% and 2.7% respectively. Both more on the left.

  22. When I visited there some years back there was clearly a lot of local pride in the Pope, above and beyond what you’d normally expect in a Catholic country (there were pictures of him everywhere), so persistently attacking him may not have been the smartest of political strategies for Milel.

  23. Hard to see Milei winning on voting to date. Party only about quarter of votes in parliament election. Why would big % of other party supporters go for far right.

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