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ARGENTINA | 13-05-2019 10:41

Cambiemos leaders 'recognise' failures after landslide Peronist win in Córdoba

So far this electoral year, Cambiemos candidates have lost gubernatorial races in Río Negro and Neuquén provinces; and primaries races in Chubut, Entre Ríos, La Pampa, Santa Fe and San Juan provinces.

Leading members of the ruling Cambiemos (Let's Change) coalition led by President Mauricio Macri on Monday "recognised" the failures of their electoral strategy following the landslide win of Peronist incumbent Governor Juan Schiaretti.

"I am not going to ignore the message of the ballot box", said government candidate Mario Negri.

"The people of Córdoba have given you their support", he said in a tweet directed at Scharietti.

"We will continue working towards the creation of a more secure and fairer province, defending its institutional quality".

Cambiemos was divided between rival candidates in the provincial elections after a schism pitted two candidates against each other. Mario Negri, who had Macri's endorsement, took 17.78 percent, while ex-Cordoba City mayor Ramón Mestre 10.94 percent of the vote. Peronists also took the mayoralty of the city of Córdoba for the first time since 1974.

President Macri will meet with his Cabinet on Monday for their usual weekly meeting, where the electoral result is likely to be high on the agenda.

So far this electoral year, Cambiemos candidates have lost gubernatorial races in Río Negro and Neuquén provinces; and primaries races in Chubut, Entre Ríos, La Pampa, Santa Fe and San Juan provinces.

"I send a strong hug to Mario Negri and Ramon Mestre and all PRO, UCR, CC and Córdoba Civic Front activists. We must work together for change at a national level", said Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio in a tweet.

Negri appeared around 10.30pm in the Córdoba Camina bunker to recognise defeat.

"We are not questioning the result or the triumph (of Scharietti)", he said. "We respect the will of the people of Córdoba".

Negri described his campaign as one based on "the search of truth" and downplayed criticisms about the fracturing of the coalition into two candidacies.

"We have nothing to demand from the national government and nothing to thank them for because we were not government candidates", he said.

CARRIÓ v STORANI

But the tone among coalition members appeared to vary on Monday.

For her part, national lawmaker Elisa Carrió took to humour to describe the coalition's defeat. Referring to her own electoral results, she said she felt sympathy for the candidates because she is the "most successful loser in Argentine history".

She took aim at the national government - whose coalition she forms part of as the leader of its third largest party, Coalicion Civica.

"I would have prefered to see an Interior Minister supporting Cambiemos' leaders, and I say this as a founding member of Cambiemos", she charged, taking aim at  Frigerio.

"Here (in Córdoba), the political machinery and public money are not important", she suggested. "What's important is decency and in the heart of Cambiemos, decency has triumphed".

The contest in an electoral district of 2.8 million voters – some 8.7 percent of the national electorate – had generated particular interest as Macri's success in the same province led to his victory in the 2015 presidential ballot.

For his part, UCR Radical Party member Federico Storani described the result as a "tragedy" for Radicalism in Córdoba.

"What happened in Córdoba is a political tragedy for Radicalism. The process prior to the election got worse and worse, it lacked intelligence, which could have been avoided", he told Cadena 3.

"It was always going to be hard to win united. It was even harder to win divided", he lamented.

-TIMES

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