Outspoken national deputy Elisa 'Lilita' Carrió last night dramatically alleged that Argentina's PASO primary elections on Sunday were subject to fraud.
The Civic Coalition-ARI lawmaker, who forms part of Mauricio Macri's Juntos por el Cambio coalition, echoed claims from the president's supporters on social media networks (using the hashtag '#FraudeK') that have alleged the vote was subject to fraud, which they allege was carried out by Kirchnerite figures.
The government, in contrast to the controversial lawmaker, has said the election was entirely transparent. Nonetheless Carrió made her claim, without offering any evidence.
"We are analyzing the results [of the PASOs] and there is too much data that is incorrect and many votes are for Macri [that are] directly suppressed in the telegram," Carrió posted on Twitter.
"In this way I have the impression from people from the territory, that the control of narcos in certain sectors in the north and the Conurbano [a group of municipalities that encircle Buenos Aires City] is central. So that's what we're working on. Each time I am more sure of our victory in October," she added in a second post.
It is not the first time that the lawmaker has alleged that Kirchnerite figures have been involved in fraud. In recent months, she alleged that former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's visit to Cuba to visit her daughter Florencia – who is said to be receiving medical treatment on the island – was really a trip to "meet with the Russians in Cuba for electoral hacking." Again, she provided no evidence for that claim.
However, speaking this morning, Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales (UCR), a key ally of President Macri, dismissed the possiblity that fraud had taken place, saying he "did not share" Carrioó's concerns.
"There is a resounding result in Buenos Aires Province and there are our [electoral] observers. I do not adhere to a lack of transparency in an outcome whose guardianship was in the hands of the Government. It does not seem that way to me," he told La Nación.
Morales, who refrained from criticising Carrió severely, said the national deputy had a "responsibility" to report such allegations if she had proof wrongdoing had taken place.
Voters on Sunday snubbed Macri’s attempts to win re-election, and backed the opposition ticket headed by Alberto Fernández.
Sunday's PASO primaries delivered a shock result for both Argentines and interested observers, as voters poured cold water over Macri’s attempts to win re-election Opposition candidate Alberto Fernández emerged with a 15-point lead over the president, way off the predictions of almost all pollsters.
However, despite the 'FraudeK' claims, the government's Secretary of Public Affairs Adrián Pérez dismissed claims on Tuesday that irregularities had been recorded. In fact, he argued, the government was seeing "lower percentages" of irregularities than normal.
"It is not an election where there has been fraud, it has been transparent," he told the A24 newschannel.
On Tuesday, as the first allegations of fraud surfaced, journalist Jorge Lanata – a famed fierce critic of Kirchnerite figures – lashed out at those who allege fraud had taken place, calling them "wrong in the head," and suggesting their bias was preventing them from analyzing why the government had lost the vote.
"There are 12,300 polling stations that must have been altered [in order for] fraud [to have taken place]. Ten perent of the country. This is impossible," he said on Radio Mitre.
"Please use your head a little. I am disappointed in the human species," he added, suggesting pro-Macri militants should come to terms with the result and ask themselves why they were defeated.
Prior to the election, controversy had emerged over the use of the Smartmatic system in the election and potential problems over its security. However, those concerns were put forward by members of the Frente de Todos and Consenso Federal groupings. The government had insisted the system was secure.