Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof brushed off economic crisis and political scandal on Sunday to breeze to re-election.
In the gubernatorial race in the nation’s biggest electoral battleground, Kicillof had 44.92 percent of the vote with 82 percent of polling stations reporting.
The 52-year-old, running on a ticket with deputy governor Verónica Magario, easily saw off challenges from opposition candidate Néstor Grindetti (Juntos por el Cambio) and libertarian hopeful Carolina Piparo (La Libertad Avanza), who took 26.54 and 24.62 percent respectively.
Left-winger Ruben Sobrero (Frente de Izquierda y de Trabajadores-Unidad) finished fourth with 3.91 percent.
The result is a resounding victory for Kicillof, whose administration was struck by scandal in the lead-up to the campaign, resulting in the resignation of provincial Cabinet chief Martín Insaurralde. It’s also a welcome boon for the ruling Unión por la Patria coalition, which feared the impact of Argentina’s economic crisis on its vote tally.
Speaking from the Unión por la Patria bunker in Chacarita, Buenos Aires, Kicillof highlighted the “support, recognition, strength, joy and conviction" that party activists and voters had put into the campaign.
He particularly thanked incumbent Peronist mayors in the district, whom he considered "the architects of this triumph.”
Kicillof said he took office in 2019 facing a province of “scorched earth” and said he was emotional at his re-election. He also offered praise for Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, his political mentor.
Taking aim firmly at presidential candidate Javier Milei and the libertarian’s running-mate, Victoria Villarruel, Kicillof highlighted that the election was held in the 40th anniversary of the return of democracy and said that the vote meant that “never again” would a dictatorship return to power.