05 September 2007

Santa Fe, Córdoba, Misiones

(I'll stop the politics after this. Promise.)

The election was Sunday
, today's only Wednesday, and everything already seems to be upside down. Some people who were overconfident to the point of hubris are desolate. The parachuted former candidate Rafael Bielsa is going to resign from his deputy chair because "it wouldn't be ethical to represent the city of BA after I was candidate for governor of SF" (what, you mean now?). Governor elect Hermes Binner met with governor Obeid in the government house and the employees left their posts to go and greet him. The factions of Peronism in Santa Fe are at each other's throats, as they see their power structure crumbling like a house of cards. The President hasn't uttered the words "Santa Fe" (or "Córdoba") since Sunday.

And Binner is already laying out his plans, which include giving more money and more power to the municipalities, avoiding the discretional management of funds by the central provincial state, fighting tax evasion without raising taxes, ensuring that school classes start on schedule next year, and cancelling the construction of a new provincial hospital only 10 blocks away from a municipal hospital (a project that vice-governor, councilmember elect and well-connected architect María Eugenia Bielsa made up and is now defending with such foamy rage that it seems rather obvious she was going to make dirty money for herself out of it).

The situation in Córdoba after the election is a mess. Only 17,000 votes (out of more than 1.5 million valid votes) separate the two main candidates. The vote count was abnormally slow, the handling of the information was horrible, and the fraud is obvious; the only issue is whether it was a general effort, planned from the top down, or just minor tricks on the local scale (the latter are a certainty).

And, thanks to the Ley de Lemas, the elections in Misiones next Sunday will most likely be even messier: besides the board-kicking effect caused by the rejection of the constitutional reform allowing the governor's re-election, the Ley de Lemas, which allows parties to combine the votes of any number of minuscule factions and candidates, means 18,000 candidates will be running for something — one every 36 voters.

Anyway, we're done over here for now. There have been many interviews and articles about Binner's achievement, and in most of them one can realize that the media have caught the general vibe of the people and, besides the natural journalistic interest for "the first Socialist governor in history", there's a serene awareness that change for the better is coming. Nobody expects a lot, but then everybody expects something — even those who voted for Bielsa, who (for the most part, if you ask me) aren't so sure that they should be sad about the loss.


  1. Pablo -

    Do you think that the dissatisfaction with the Peronists is more a local/provincial issue, or do you sense that there is increasing opposition to the Kirchner regime?

    Are there any other provincial elections before the presidential election?


  2. According to Wikipedia, there are two more provincial elections before the day of the presidentials: Chaco and Chubut. Neither are important provinces, demographically or politically. The rest (including Buenos Aires and Mendoza as large districts) will elect governors on October 28, together with the presidential election.

    Binner is a local phenomenon. I know many people that don't like Kirchner and outright hate Cristina, but then K-bashing has grown common as a middle-class sport, and few people will speak in favour of Kirchner without adding a "but..." somewhere.

    Then, Cristina might not do such a good election as everybody thinks she will. And, if people's choice of Binner is any sign, neither she or her husband or any of their allies can be sure to win again in 2011.


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