By Fernando Cibeira / Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn / October 26, 2015.- After the polls, officialist candidate Daniel Scioli was the first one to give his —cautious— speech. Mauricio Macri and María Eugenia Vidal danced to celebrate their unexpected success.
Daniel Scioli, the candidate of the Front for Victory, the party of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, came out in the first place by a short margin of 2 points, over Mauricio Macri, candidate Let’s Change, and, for the first time in Argentina’s history, a president will be defined in a runoff election (ballottage), set for November 22nd.
At 3 am, Scioli obtained 36.85 percent against Macri, who obtained 34.34 percent, a difference much smaller than the one gotten in the Primary elections, and very different from the results announced by the polls in the past months. The results in the province of Buenos Aires (inhabited by more than a third of the country’s population) were key to the nation-wide results. In Buenos Aires, Let’s Change made a great election as candidate for Governor María Eugenia Vidal broke all odds by defeating Aníbal Fernández (Front for Victory) for more than four points. Another important candidate, Sergio Massa, retained the expected third place with 21.2 percent. On the other hand, representing the trotskyist left, Nicolás Del Caño, from the Workers’ Left Front, took away the fourth place from Margarita Stolbizer, from the Progressive Front, by 3.3 percent to 2.6 percent.
We can imagine that, from now on, the officialist Front for Victory must begin a thorough analysis of the election, in which Scioli not only did not exceed his performance at the Primary elections but in fact fell back. In two important districts in which Scioli intended to grow, —Cordoba and Buenos Aires Autonomous City—, the increase was almost imperceptible, while in the Buenos Aires province, he ended up with 3 points less.
Quite the opposite happened with Macri, who was at one point was even doubted to be able to maintain what Let’s Change had achieved in the primaries, in which he competed against Ernesto Sanz and Elisa Carrio. He obtained 5 points more. In the province of Buenos Aires he added 4 percent, while in Córdoba Macri he won with 53 percent, keeping most of allied José Manuel de la Sota’ electors.
In fact, if the number of votes is compared, Scioli got a closer result to the one he obtained in the Primary Elections, of about 8,500,000 votes. So, it could be inferred that the vast majority of those who did not vote in the primaries and did yesterday chose Macri.
Final act in the iconic Luna Park Stadium
Long before the National Electoral Management gave the first official result, the certainty of a second ballot was reflected in Scioli’s speech at Luna Park Stadium, when he thanked “a new display of confidence” by the voters. He also called “the undecided and the independent ones”.Next to him was his vice president candidate to Vice President Carlos Zannini. On his right were his closest collaborators, and on his left, his family and officials. It was the virtual start of his campaign for the second round.
“There are two different visions of Argentina,” he said, in which his is the one where “our priority are the humble, the workers and the middle class”. He claimed that the government of Cristina Kirchner has stood in defense of human rights and the defense of “our economic independence”. Unlike his usual speeches, he made a direct reference to his rival. “If it was for Macri, we would not have the Universal Child Allowance, nor our national airline, Aerolineas Argentinas, or even the National Administration of Social Security, and we would have paid to the vulture funds, like Judge Griesa wanted” Scioli launched emphatically, and introduced himself as the most experienced person to take over the country. He saluted, along with his wife Karina Rabolini, and said he was going to return in an hour to talk some more about the results, but he did not come back.
In Costa Salguero Center, celebration
Since the polls closed, the bunker of Let’s Change, in the exclusive Costa Salguero, was full of excitement, adorned with a huge sign that crossed the stage that announced the second round. The vice presidential candidate, Gabriela Michetti, and the now Governor of Buenos Aires, María Eugenia Vidal, were the cheerleaders on stage repeating time after time a series of slogans, such as “We are getting closer”, “We will be with you”, “You helped us get here”. At about 23 pm they announced Macri’s appearance.
“Today, politics in this country have changed” said the presidential candidate whose image relies on the notion of “change” because they are a newly-conformed party. Macri made a huge effort to send good vibes to those who did not vote for him yesterday, and thanked them, even more than the ones who did vote for him. “I’m going to work every hour of the day to earn your trust” he said. The entire leadership of the alliance was on the stage, including Carrió and Sanz, who were very enthusiastic. “If every Argentinian can be better, we build the Argentina we dreamt of”, said Macri before starting the usual dance with his daughter Antonia on his shoulders. The yellow balloons were replaced by blue and white ones. The celebrations lasted until dawn.
The usual allegations of fraud by Let’s Change, which threatened to appear at the beginning of scrutiny, were soon forgotten with the good news.
Election day was quite calm, even more than the Primary election, which was held on August. Justice Minister, Julio Alak, evaluated the day as “the most controlled and supervised elections in history”. In his balance, when polls were recently closed, announced that 79 percent of the electoral register had voted. Then, it was confirmed exceed 80 per cent, representing “5 percent of people more than those who participated in the open primaries”.
Alejandro Tullio, National Electoral Director, promised that the first results would be late, “around 23 pm”, with the goal of making “a homogeneous load of the data of all the provinces”. But the time frame stretched much further and, unusually, midnight arrived wihout a single number being broadcasted. At that time, Alak and Tullio made a new appearance and promised the result “within minutes”, justifying the delay in missing numbers, most of them from province of Buenos Aires. By that time, all candidates had already made their speeches. In the first broadcast of numbers, Macri was heading the election over Scioli, and Vidal over Fernández, so the delay of the numbers from the officialist Ministry started to make sense.
Buenos Aires… and the rest of the country
María Eugenia Vidal’s stunning victory in Buenos Aires marks the end of 28 years of Peronist hegemony in the most important district of the country. Let’s Change ambiemos also won the interior of the province, as well as several municipalities in the metropolitan area. An illustrative fact was that Aníbal Fernández and his running mate, Martin Sabbatella, lost in their own districts, Quilmes and Morón. This means that there was much more “ballot cutting” than expected: Scioli won 300000 more votes in the province, than his candidate for Governor.
Governors were also chosen in other ten provinces. The whole opposition welcomed the broad triumph of Radicalist Gerardo Morales in Jujuy over the Peronist Eduardo Fellner. In Santa Cruz, province where the late Nestor Kirchner was born, his sister Alicia Kirchner won, and his son Maximo Kirchner was elected National Deputy. In Chubut, Peronist Mario Das Neves, who belongs to the “opposition”, narrowly prevailed over Governor Martin Buzzi. The party of the late Juan Domingo Perón, Partido Justicialista (PJ), and its allies, confirmed their status as favorite in Formosa, Misiones, Catamarca, La Pampa and San Juan, and Alberto Rodriguez Saá did as well in San Luis. In Entre Ríos, Gustavo Bordet also prevailed by little over the ruralist Alfredo De Angeli.
As for the new conformation of the National Congress, the Front for Victory retained a majority in the Senate Chamber and the largest minority in Chamber of Deputies. Macrismo also showed a growth in this area.
Daniel Scioli (Left) and Mauricio Macri (right)