03 August 2009

Primary election results

A few weird numbers came out of yesterday's election. The main thing was that the opposition represented by the Justicialist Party (that is, the Peronists) won in Rosario, where it usually loses by a wide margin, and the Progressive Front won in Santa Fe City, where it usually doesn't do that well and was vanquished in the latest legislative election. What happened?

You need to remember this was a primary election and, although it was compulsory, many people didn't turn up. It was a local election and in Rosario, also, it was a local election pitching a diverse (some would say promiscuous) opposition party against a fairly monolithic government party whose administration is showing some wear after 14 years in office. People who are more-or-less OK with the Socialist administration didn't vote for it because the main list of candidates was seen as a bunch of yes-people ready to raise their hands on the mayor's command. I myself voted for Nire Roldán, one of the minor, dissident candidates of the Progressive Front, instead of the "loyalist" Clara García (currently a top municipal official), because I don't want a Deliberative Council with an absolute majority of the government's faction.

In any case, the Progressive Front had differences in opinion among its factions, basically regarding the closeness of the candidates to the mayor's power. On the other hand, the Peronists are profoundly divided, and so they went to the primary election: a Kirchnerist faction led by extra-partisan, former Socialist and Menemist sell-out Héctor Cavallero, with the explicit support of the now disgraced Kirchnerist mouthpiece Agustín Rossi; a faction led by one Diego Giuliano, a political unknown who answers to formerly fervent Kirchnerist, now right-wing anti-Kirchnerist Carlos Reutemann; another one led by Osvaldo Miatello, the only one with a current and established legislative career, backed by former governor Jorge Obeid; and an assortment of no-names. These will have to get along somehow — they'll all be together in a single ballot in September.

My analysis is that many people just took the Progressive Front for granted and refused to show extra support for the mayor's faction (that's what I did after all) as a way of letting them know they'll have to work harder to stay in power, while each of the various competing Peronist candidates conducted an aggressive campaign just to make themselves noticed, and their wide differences encouraged their supporters to go out and vote.We'll see what happens with those figures in September. I really can't see a traditional, conservative Peronist voting for a former Socialist with Kirchnerist backing, or viceversa.


  1. Pablo - Although I know voting is supposedly compulsory, I also know that that even in Federal Elections, turnout has been as low as 71%.

    In practice, are there any penalties for not voting?

  2. I think turnout in Santa Fe was about 65%. It was actually higher than expected, given the circumstances. No, in practice nobody has ever been legally punished for not voting. That's why it's strange that many people who didn't want to vote actually went through the paperwork of justifying their absence.

  3. Mike21:05

    Pablo, after reading this it is a wonder that Argentina is not in complete turmoil:


    Just how much can people endure?

  4. Anonymous12:17

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