Ruling party picks up most provinces but loses the big oneTuesday, October 27, 2015
Gubernatorial race comes to an end
The Victory Front (FpV) won seven out of the 11 gubernatorial elections held on Sunday. But the big upset win of the night went to María Eugenia Vidal of presidential candidate Mauricio Macri’s centre-right opposition coalition Let’s Change who defeated the FpV’s Aníbal Fernández in Buenos Aires province, the nation’s largest electoral district.
Vidal, who is the outgoing deputy mayor of Buenos Aires City, collected 3,478,505 votes (39.49 percent) against Fernández’s 3,098,900 votes (35,18 percent) with 96.75 percent of the ballots tallied in Buenos Aires province. Vidal’s triumph, in what was considered to be a Kirchnerite bastion, comes on top of her coalition’s win in the Buenos Aires City mayoral elections held in July (with Horacio Rodríguez Larreta as mayor-elect). The Peronists have ruled Buenos Aires province since 1987. Aníbal Fernández is the Cabinet chief to outgoing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The only other Peronist defeat on record in Buenos Aires province gubernatorial elections since the return to democracy came in 1983 when Raúl Alfonsín, a Radical, won the presidency by a landslide with his coat-tails carrying his candidate for governor, Alejandro Armendáriz, to a memorable upset victory.
The electoral slaughter of the FpV by Macri’s coalition in Buenos Aires province was not the only surprise on Sunday night.
Gerardo Morales, the Radical senator, bagged a historic win in Jujuy province’s gubernatorial election by winning over the FpV on Sunday. It was the first loss for a Peronist-led coalition in Jujuy province since Argentina’s return to democracy in 1983.
Morales defeated the FpV’s Eduardo Fellner, the incumbent governor who is the chairman of the pro-Kirchnerite Justicialist Party (PJ, in Spanish) nationwide. With 92 percent of the ballots counted yesterday Morales garnered 58.4 percent of the votes and Fellner 35.63 percent. Fellner was backed as a strategic ally by the ultra-Kirchnerite militant Milagro Sala, fiercely criticized by Morales who has accused her of using federal state funds to finance her organization. Morales’ candidacy was endorsed by practically all of the nation’s main opposition parties including PRO, the UCR, GEN, the Renewal Front and the Socialist Party.
Yet the Kirchnerite territorial dominance was not entirely obliterated on the night.
The FpV on Sunday scored victories in Catamarca (Lucía Corpacci), Entre Ríos (Gustavo Bordet), Formosa (Gildo Insfrán), Misiones (Hugo Passalacqua) and San Juan (Sergio Uñac). Corpacci and Insfrán, who will serve his sixth straight term as governor of Formosa, were re-elected. Bordet replaces the outgoing Kirchnerite Governor Sergio Urribarri in Entre Ríos and Lieutenant-Governor Uñac will take over from Governor José Luis Gioja, also FpV, in San Juan.
The non-Kirchnerite Peronist Carlos Verna (running on the Victory Front ticket) carried La Pampa (another Peronist-ruled province since 1983) with 47,19 percent of the votes over Let’s Change candidate Francisco Torroba who garnered 36.55 percent in gubernatorial elections.
Outgoing Social Welfare Minister Alicia Kirchner, CFK’s sister-in-law, won in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, the president’s home base. In Santa Cruz the president’s son, Máximo Kirchner, won a seat to the Lower House of Congress.
Alicia Kirchner fended off a challenge by Eduardo Costa, the Radical candidate, to secure a crucial win for the FpV. Santa Cruz, where the Peronists are splintered, used a combined primary-election system in order to keep outgoing Governor Daniel Peralta in the fold. The FpV collected 84,433 votes (51,58 percent) and Costa’s Unión para Vivir Mejor 74.990 votes (45,81 percent) with 96.6 percent of the votes counted.
In another Patagonian province, Chubut, the former non-Kirchnerite Peronist governor Mario Das Neves defeated the current FpV Governor Martín Buzzi by 109,076 votes (41.35 percent) to 107.406 votes (40.7 percent) with 95.49 percent of the ballots counted. Buzzi won the gubernatorial election with Das Neves’ endorsement in 2011, but he quickly switched allegiances to side with CFK.
San Luis, home to presidential candidate Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, voted for governor on Sunday. Alberto Rodríguez Saá, Adolfo’s brother, was elected to a third term as governor, winning 129,842 votes (56.17 percent) with 97.7 percent of the ballot boxes counted. José Luis Riccardo (Let’s Change) was second in San Luis’ gubernatorial contest with 67,654 votes (29.27 percent) with the FpV’s Héctor Daniel González Espíndola coming third (31,593 votes, 13.67 percent). The Rodríguez Saá brothers lead their own brand of dissident Peronism. Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, himself a five-term governor of the province who briefly served as caretaker president during the financial meltdown late in 2001, was last in Sunday’s presidential elections.
The FpV this year had also won the gubernatorial contests in La Rioja, Salta, Tucumán, Chaco and Tierra del Fuego. But the Victory Front lost Mendoza province to the Radical challenger, Alfredo Cornejo.
Alberto Weretilneck, an independent centre-left candidate, was re-elected in Río Negro province and Omar Gutiérrez (Neuquén Popular Movement) won in Neuquén province. The Socialist Party, also earlier this year, managed to hold onto Santa Fe province.
Córdoba province will remain in dissident Peronist hands. The gubernatorial election held in July was won by Juan Schiaretti, a longstanding ally of outgoing Governor José Manuel de la Sota. Santiago del Estero and Corrientes are scheduled to vote governors in 2017.
The Kirchner family name was set to continue it’s long presence in institutional Argentine politics following Sunday’s election as both Alicia Kirchner, the sister-in-law of outgoing President Cristina Fernández, and the president’s son Máximo secured enough votes to be elected governor and provincial lawmaker respectively for the Victory Front (FpV).
Current Social Development Minister Alicia Kirchner won fewer votes (56,969) than her foremost challenger in UCR lawmaker Eduardo Costa of the “Unión para Vivir Mejor” (FUPVM), an affiliate of national coalition Let’s Change, in the race to become the next governor of Santa Cruz. However, the double simultaneous vote (ley de lemas) system still in use in Santa Cruz province allowed Kirchner to run alongside another FpV candidate with current governor Daniel Peralta on separate tickets and pool their support at the final vote count, which ultimately amounted to 51.58 percent for the FpV. Costa and his ally in the ticker Osvaldo Pérez mustered 45.81 percent with 96.67 percent of votes counted.
Meanwhile Máximo Kirchner, the leader of the FpV youth group La Cámpora, received 46.23 percent of votes, behind the FUPVM’s 49.28. However, it remained a sufficient mandate to secure a seat alongside the FUPVM as lawmaker in the Lower House.
Although the Victory Front (FpV) gubernatorial candidate for Entre Ríos province, Gustavo Bordet, announced his victory over rival Let’s Change front candidate Alfredo De Ángeli yesterday, the latter refused to recognize the win claiming that the result could be modified given that eight percent of the votes were still pending to be counted. The official election figures show that Bordet received 42.33 percent, which means 2.5 percentage points and 20,000 votes more than De Ángeli, a farming leader and staunch opposition figure to the national government. Dissident Peronist and Sergio Massa’s ally Adrián Fuertes came in third place with 15.52 percent and congratulated Bordet, recognizing his victory.
The Kirchnerite win in Entre Ríos province (eighth most-populated electoral district) on Sunday represented a sort of relief for the ruling party after the stunning performance of Let’s Change presidential bid.