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ARGENTINA | 20-04-2019 08:15

Ominous signs for Cambiemos as Peronist Bordet strolls PASOs in Entre Ríos

Peronist Governor Gustavo Bordet, heading a united Peronist list, romped to 58.15 percent as against 33.65 percent for the veteran Radical Atilio Benedetti, representing Cambiemos, in a highly polarised race.

Last Sunday’s PASO primary in Entre Ríos followed this year’s general trend of endorsing incumbent provincial governments by convincing margins, while in national terms the result was far more clearly a setback for President Mauricio Macri’s Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition than a triumph for his main rival Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Peronist Governor Gustavo Bordet, heading a united Peronist list, romped to 58.15 percent as against 33.65 percent for the veteran Radical Atilio Benedetti, representing Cambiemos, in a highly polarised race. But Kirchnerism was only one of 11 parties backing Bordet, who has been on better terms with Macri in the last three-plus years than the vast majority of Peronist governors (even joining last year’s presidential tour of Russia, Switzerland and France).

Following his success, the governor called for Peronists to unite across the nation, ahead of October’s crunch elections.

T h e m a r g i n o f B or de t ’s t r iu mph leaves little suspense as to the final outcome of the provincial elections scheduled for June 9. Macri government supporters had been resigned to defeat but had been speculating that a single-digit deficit could be reversible if the hopes of the economy picking up as from next month materialise.

The defeat especially hurt Cambiemos because in the 2017 midterms the same candidate, Benedetti, had led them to almost as big a victory with a 53-38 percent margin over the Justicialist Front (91 percent of the electorate thus voted for the two main options then as last Sunday), thus giving Cambiemos five of the province’s nine Lower House seats. The Macri government has thus not only lost the five provincial elections or PASO primaries so far this year (three of them in Patagonia) but trailed by a difference averaging 15 percent (Benedetti’s 2015 margin).

The remaining 8.2 percent of the vote was shared by three leftist hopefuls and two local politicians with 4.5 percent accruing to the left and 3.6 percent to the provincial parties among a total of 652,113 votes cast.

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