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ARGENTINA | 04-05-2019 10:29

Two winners, but only one loser in Santa Fe’s PASO primaries vote

Two winners, but only one loser in last Sunday’s Santa Fe PASO primaries.

Former Socialist governor Antonio Bonfatti of the ruling Progressive Front emerged as the individual candidate with the most votes but Peronist Senator Omar Perotti could also claim to be the real victor since his Juntos list garnered the most votes when including his internal rival María Eugenia Bielsa (the sister of the Leeds United coach so much in the news the same weekend).

The loser, however, was two-term Santa Fe Radical Mayor José Corral who went out to bat for President Mauricio Macri’s Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition facing a double handicap – not only was he representing Macri dur ing perhaps his government’s biggest moment of economic difficulties but as mayor of the provincial capital he was widely rejected in the province’s main city of Rosario with over a third of the electorate.

The final results showed 29.05 percent for Bonfatti, 26.31 percent for Perotti, 18.35 percent for Corral and 13.51 percent for Bielsa, so that the combined Peronist vote for the two Juntos hopefuls of 39.82 percent topped Bonfatti by a double-digit margin. The first results showed Bonfatti comfortably ahead with over 38 percent but he steadily lost ground to the Peronists as the slow count of the complex single ballot stretched into the small hours of Monday while Corral (initially struggling to reach 15 percent) also picked up slightly.

Nevertheless, the Bonfatti camp considers the substantial Peronist lead reversible for the June 16 provincial elections since they fancy the chances of Bielsa’s progressive voters largely favouring socialism over Perotti’s cautious brand of Peronism. But Corral runs the risk of being squeezed out by tactical voting after his poor performance – especially since many Cambiemos voters already back the Progressive Front (formally partnered by Corral’s UCR Radicals until 2015 with many Radicals still in support while another Cambiemos ally, the Civic Coalition, remains institutionally within the Front).

The Rosario mayoral primary had the reverse outcome – Peronist Roberto Sukerman was the individual candidate with the most votes (22 percent) but the two Progressive Front hopefuls combined 36 percent between them with the Civic Coalition’s Pablo Javkin having the upper hand, thus ousting socialism from Rosario City Hall for the first time in three decades.

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