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ARGENTINA | 18-05-2019 10:46

Schiaretti looks to ‘republican Peronism’ after landslide re-election win in Córdoba

His triumph was rapidly followed by the blame game among the divided Cambiemos losers.

Córdoba Peronist Governor Juan Schiaretti gained a landslide re-election last Sunday with his triumph rapidly followed by the blame game among the divided Cambiemos losers. The meltdown included loss of the provincial capital to Peronist Martín Llaryora, the first Radical defeat there since 1973.

The final results showed Schiaretti topping a million votes at 57.28 percent while his two rival Radical challengers barely polled 30 percent between them – Lower House Cambiemos caucus leader Mario Negro finished with 18.87 percent and outgoing Córdoba Mayor Ramón Mestre obtained 11.62 percent.

If the Cambiemos split thus magnified the disaster, it also served as a convenient excuse for what in any case would have been a humiliating defeat in bleak economic times with little over half of Schiaretti’s vote. Negri finished well ahead of Mestre (widely blamed for the debacle by the national government) but whereas the former undershot his previous opinion polls by several percent, the latter slightly improved on his.

The remaining 12.23 percent in a turnout of over 70 percent mostly went to local politicians with 4.79 percent for three far leftists and 0.68 percent for a Civic Unity candidate apparently ignoring the overall Kirchnerite strategy to maximise Schiaretti’s margin at Cambiemos expense.

Despite this assistance from Kirchnerism (whose Victory Front candidate had polled 17 percent in 2015), Schiaretti refused to see his big win in national terms, neither dedicating his triumph to Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner nor gloating over the humiliating Cambiemos defeat in the province which clinched the runoff for President Mauricio Macri in 2015.

Instead he said that the grieta political rift “did Argentina a lot of harm” and defended the need for a “republican Peronism” which placed a balanced budget first while respecting the freedom of the press, human rights and the separation of powers.

“We are part of the federal, democratic and republican Peronism. We are convinced that there will be no republic in Argentina without Peronism and that there will be no future for Peronism if it is not republican,” he declared, observing that the winning margin was “the biggest in history since the return of democracy.”

While most Cambiemos top brass singled out Mestre as the scapegoat, Civic Coalition leader Elisa Carrió preferred to pick on Lower House PRO caucus leader, Nicolás Massot, calling him a “vain and capricious .... son of a bitch” for not supporting Negri.

Meanwhile, Radical party member Federico Storani described the result as a “tragedy.”

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