Eduardo Tassano, Corrientes' new mayor.

Argentina’s election year began to pick up steam with three races whose results showed that — bar a few exceptions — the battle for the control over the country’s public offices continues to be between the Cambiemos coalition and the Justicialist Party (PJ). The party led by President Mauricio Macri pulled an upset in the City of Corrientes’ mayoral elections and the PJ came on top in La Rioja and Chaco’s primaries for the provincial congressional elections, strengthening their position ahead of the midterm election.

Although they are not particularly relevant on a national scale, these races serve as a sort of proxy elections: they help determine what the electoral landscape in different parts of the country will look like and gives the parties a shot to perfect their strategies ahead of October’s midterm elections, as most people vote for a party rather than a candidate in these elections. Here’s what we are working with.

Corrientes

Against all odds, Cambiemos’ Eduardo Tassano carried the City of Corrientes’ mayoral elections. He beat Fabián Ríos and took Peronism out of the city’s administation after eight years. This was arguably the most significant election of the three mentioned, considering it was the only one that had an executive branch of the city government up for grabs.

From President Mauricio Macri down, numerous high ranking officials of Cambiemos came out to capitalize on the win, congratulating Tassano on his election. “My congratulations to Eduardo Tassano and Governor Rircardo Colombi [who is also part of Cambiemos] for the win in Corrientes. Thank you to all its residents for continuing to trust in Cambiemos,” said President Macri in an interview with Millenium Radio.

“Thank you Corrientes for contiuning to #changetogether,” tweeted Cambiemos co-founder Elisa Carrió.

At the same time Tassano, who is a member of the Radical (UCR-ECO) part of Cambiemos, assured that “Macri has a great deal of support in Corrientes” and highlighted “the large public works” the national administration is conducting in the province “after a several years of discrimination.”

“The President has already visited us five times. Each visit not only generated expectations, but results as well. There are already public works being carried out,” he said in a radio interview.

“Contratulations to Tassano, Colombi, ECO’s team and the city of Corrientes’ residents who chose to change!,” tweeted Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña.

If we take 2015’s general elections as a point of reference, the Cambiemos coalition sensibly increased its support in the area: Tassano got 50.17 percent of the vote, compared to the 37.7 that Macri got a year and a half ago. The PJ also saw its numbers grow, but by a much smaller margin compared to its rival.

Ríos got 46.47 percent of the vote, almost 5 more points than Daniel Scioli in the presidential elections. The main difference lies in the fact that Sergio Massa, who got 17 percent of the vote in 2015, didn’t have a candidate for his party in the mayoral elections.

Chaco

The Peronist party came out on top in the primaries for the Northern province’s next congressional elections, which will be held next month. The “Chaco Merece Más” front (Chaco deserves more) got almost 50 percent of the vote, almost 15 percent more than the multiple Cambiemos tickets combined. But in something that has become a trend throughout the country, Cambiemos won the popular vote in the Province’s largest Urban Center, in this case Resistencia. The Workers’ Party (PO) came in third with 5 percent of the vote.

When comparing these results with the 2015 election, we can see that the PJ had a similar performance, getting 3 percent less votes than then. Cambiemos, on its end, got 7 points more than a year and a half ago. Again the main factor is the absence of Massa’s Renewal Front party, as he got 15 percent the last time voters took to the ballots. It’s pretty clear that his votes were distributed between Cambiemos and the PO.

La Rioja

Following suit with Chaco, La Rioja held its primary elections to renew its provincial Congress yesterday. In this case the residents of the Western province chose Peronism by a large margin. The PJ got 23.84 percent of the vote while Encuentro por La Rioja, another faction of the Peronist party, came in second with 18.6. Cambiemos came in third with a meager 18.5 percent.

When compared to the presidential elections, Peronism improved its numbers by almost 6 points, while Cambiemos decreased theirs by 13.