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ARGENTINA | 26-01-2019 10:25

Supreme Court rules in favour of La Rioja governor’s re-election bid

The Supreme Court yesterday voted 3-1 at almost the last minute to uphold tomorrow’s referendum in La Rioja to permit incumbent Peronist Governor Sergio Casas the right to run for re-election.

The Supreme Court yesterday voted 3-1 at almost the last minute to uphold tomorrow’s referendum in La Rioja to permit incumbent Peronist Governor Sergio Casas the right to run for re-election, a move which the provincial constitution does not currently allow him.

Justices Ricardo Lorenzetti, Horacio Rosatti and Elena Highton de Nolasco outvoted the new Chief Justice Carlos Rosenkrantz against a lawsuit lodged by both the UCR Radical party and its ruling coalition partner PRO to declare the provincial initiative unconstitutional.

Although La Rioja’s Constitution permits a second term, it does not allow any candidate to appear in either half of the gubernatorial ticket a third time running, thus barring Casas (who had been lieutenant-governor from 2011 to 2015).

Hence tomorrow’s referendum, which has its irregular features – while most such votes normally require majority approval, Casas automatically obtains the right to run again (already rubberstamped by the provincial assembly) unless over 35 percent of the entire electorate votes against. Casas is thus counting on a low turnout in the midst of summer.

Although the lawsuit filed by the national government parties highlighted these irregularities, the Supreme Court waived its right to interfere on the grounds of respect for provincial jurisdiction, also maintaining the principle that political disputes should be resolved by the electorate and not by any courtroom. The justices rejecting the lawsuit further argued that they saw nothing unconstitutional in the mechanism of referendum.

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