After only (and we use the term “only” loosely) 16 days, the Electoral Chamber announced yesterday who won the PASO primaries in the senatorial race of the Buenos Aires province and, as expected, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner ended up beating Cambiemos candidate Esteban Bullrich by a narrow 0.21 percent difference, or 20,324 votes.
This result turned around the provisional recount from election day, which had Bullrich up by 0,08 percent of the vote. That day, the former President accused the Mauricio Macri administration of manipulating the tallying of the votes so they could celebrate while voters were awake on Sunday night.
Cristina argued that, since the Macri administration knew they were going to obtain less votes than her, tallying centers started counting the votes from the Buenos Aires province districts in which the Cambiemos coalition is more popular. This would lead to celebrating a victory that wasn’t such on prime time television and thus push a “false narrative.” Moreover, she then assured that the government had also ordered the provisional recount to be halted when the trend made it clear she was going to take the lead.
“We won,” she said in her campaign headquarters around 4 AM on election night, when the difference between her and Bullrich had been reduced from several points to 0.08 percent — less than 7,000 votes — the final number of the provisional recount. As the figures from the definitive recount were made public, the former President took to Twitter to confirm her victory.
Se conoció la verdad, ganamos. pic.twitter.com/hwZGLrVYkT
— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) August 30, 2017
“The truth is out, we won,” reads her tweet. Fernández already intends to boost this message and capitalize on her official victory. Today she will hold a rally at the Atenas Club in the city of La Plata, which at the same time will serve to relaunch her campaign for the real goal: winning the senatorial race for the Buenos Aires province in the October midterms.
The definitive tallying also confirmed Cambiemos’ victory in the election for deputies in the largest and most populated province in the country. The ticket led by Graciela Ocaña got 34.38 percent of the vote, almost two percent more than Unidad Ciudadana, headed by Fernanda Vallejos.
The contrast between the two elections can be explained by the difference in the name recognition between the former President and Vallejos, who worked as an analyst in the Economy Ministry during the previous administrations and never held elected office.
Moreover, Vallejos couldn’t even increase her visibility in the media during the campaign, as she was forbidden from doing so after defending former Vice-President and political pariah Amado Boudou in her first interview.
Standing up for Boudou, who has got more charges pressed against him than he can count, doesn’t help the party’s intention to avoid taking the electoral debate to the shaky legal situation of most high-ranking officials during the Fernández de Kirchner administration – the former President included. All candidates are set to adjust their campaigns to improve their performance in October. Time will tell how they do.