Former two-time Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich has been elected as the new governor of Chaco, as Peronist forces emerged triumphant on Sunday in the last election before Argentina goes to the polls for a crunch presidential ballot.
Capitanich, 54, emerged triumphant over Chaco Somos Todos (the local version of President Mauricio Macri's Cambiemos coalition) candidate Carim Peche. The Peronist candidate – running for the local Chaqueño Front (PJ) – took 49.31 percent of votes compared to 31.69 percent, with a significant enough margin of victory to ensure that there was no second round run-off between the two.
Capitanich – the current mayor of Resistencia who led the northeastern province as governor from 2007 to 2013 before quitting to enter the national government – had emerged triumphant in the August 11 PASO primaries, pushing out current governor Domingo Peppo for a place on the ticket amid a Peronist-Kirchnerite split.
"I want to thank you with all my heart," he said in his victory speech. "The Chaco people have given me this new mandate. We are the formula chosen by the people of Chaco people."
"The road has not been easy, it will not be easy, but we are more experienced, with the same desire as always," he added.
Capitanich, a long-time ally of late president Néstor Kirchner who headed former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's Cabinet from 2013 to 2015, described the result in Chaco was a "boost" for the 'Fernández-Fernández' presidential ticket.
"If we added [together] all the nominations of Peronism [in the Chaco election] we would be above 65 percent," Capitanich said in an interview with the FM Futurock radio station on Monday.
"I have no doubt that what happened yesterday in Chaco is a boost to the candidacy of Fernandez-Fernandez," he added.
President Macri will seek re-election in two weeks, with Peronist hopeful Alberto Fernández odds on to win the race for the Casa Rosada after emerging from August's PASO primaries with a more than 16-point lead.
Speaking to Noticias Argentinas, Capitanich also offered his opinion on Sunday's presidential debate, describing Fernández's performance as "very solid."
"I saw Alberto Fernandez as very solid in the debate. He will be our next president," said the former Cabinet chief, adding that he believed President Macri needed "a bath of reality."
Speaking to local outlets on Tuesday, the new governor said "We are going to look for a very strong revival [of the economy] with Alberto [Fernández]."