Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner waves in Buenos Aires after winning the general elections on Sunday.

Story highlights

Analyst: Economic issues played a large role in the voters' choice

The runner-up vows to keep fighting for his party's values

The 58-year-old president went into Sunday's vote as the undisputed front-runner

Fernandez has said her second term will be dedicated to her late husband's memory

CNN  — 

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner became Latin America’s first female president to win a second term when she sailed to victory in Argentina’s elections.

With 98% of votes counted Monday, Fernandez was the decisive winner, obtaining nearly 54% of votes cast and far surpassing her closest competitor.

Hermes Binner, a Socialist governor from Santa Fe, came in second place with almost 17% of the votes.

Economic issues played a large role in Sunday’s vote, political analyst Carlos Germano told CNN en Español.

South America’s second-largest economy has bounced back from the brink and shaped a most unlikely recovery, driven by high commodities demand from China and a series of unorthodox economic policies that worked to help shelter Argentina from much of the economic malaise that is gripping the rest of the planet right now.

Under Fernandez’s leadership, Argentina’s economy has enjoyed sustained growth of about 8% annually. The president points to this expansion and a low debt load as examples of how Argentina is well-positioned to weather the uncertainty in the current global markets.

Fernandez’s win was a sign that Argentinians want to see economic growth continue, Germano said.

“It was an overwhelming vote to preserve what we have in light of the imminence of the problems that we are seeing in the United States and Europe,” he said.

Fernandez, a center-left member of the Peronist party, went into Sunday’s vote as the undisputed front-runner after handily winning the primary vote.

Continuously weaving her role as the nation’s leader with being the widow of former president Nestor Carlos Kirchner, who died in 2010, Fernandez said she carries her husband’s ideals as she returns to office.

Fernandez, 58, has said her second presidential term will be dedicated to her late husband’s memory.

“Today is a rare day for me, because there are too many feelings,” Fernandez said as results came in Sunday night. “If I tell you I am happy, I lie, if I tell you I am sad, I lie. … I am not speaking as his widow but as his partner in militancy for the rest of my life,” she said.

In 2007, Kirchner stepped aside so his wife, Fernandez, could run. She was elected with 45% of the vote, becoming Argentina’s first elected female president.

Thousands crammed into Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo waving flags and shouting “Viva Cristina, Viva Peronismo!’ to welcome back their charismatic leader. Entire families and groups of activists cheered as results trickled in showing the incumbent president with a considerable advantage over her opponents.

But Binner and his party still had a significant showing in Sunday’s election, Germano said.

“I think it’s a force with the possibility of growing both in the short and long term,” he said.

Binner told supporters Sunday that he had congratulated Kirchner on her win, Argentina’s official Telam news agency reported.

But he vowed that his party will keep fighting for its progressive beliefs.

“We will be in the opposition. We will be the ones who make alternative proposals, but we will be relentless,” he said, according to Telam.

CNN’s Guillermo Fontana and Brian Byrnes contributed to this report.