Political parties met with Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio and Secretary of Political Affairs Adrián Perez. Photo via Ministerio del Interior.

In the second of a series of talks oriented towards reforming the electoral system, political parties met with  Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio and Secretary of Political Affairs Adrián Pérez last night and reached a consensus regarding the much-needed reform.

Eduardo Fellner, the former governor of Jujuy nd an influential member of the Judicialist Party (PJ), was present at the meeting and said the government’s initiative would “do democracy a lot of good.” After the meeting, Pérez said that “[the reform] has a high level of consensus surrounding it […] we’ve agreed on a lot of things.”

Considering the mess that negotiations over federal co-participation, or the manner in which federal taxes are divided among the provinces, are going through lately and the government’s attempts to get closer to Peronism, this is pretty great news. Especially since the objective of this is to make voting less terrible for all of us.

Quick recap. The government has put forward three points of potential reform to the Argentine electoral system:

  1. Introducing a single (preferably electronic) ballot
  2. Synchronizing the electoral calendar (so that you’d only have to vote once or twice instead of six times within a single year)
  3. Creating an independent electoral council

Last week, a similar meeting was held with the provincial governors and secretaries, who will reconvene in a month. Today, political parties were summoned to discuss the reforms further and in the future, NGOs dedicated to electoral issues will be having talks with the government.

tucuman

One idea put forward by the provinces was to create a kind of federal agreement or to outline basic principles to extend the national reform to the provinces. In addition, it would seem that the idea of a single electronic ballot gathered a lot of support, unlike in the previous administration’s case:

“It’s a faster and more transparent system for our citizens that has already had good results in Salta, the City of Buenos Aires, San Luis and Resistencia,” said Pérez.

He added that electoral reform in general has good support from the different representatives of the political parties present.

“Electoral reforms should be made in non-electoral years for them to operate during electoral years,” he said.

The idea is to present a bill to Congress sometime between March and April to then have it approved before the upcoming 2017 electoral year.

This past election cycle, problems with the current voting system came to light with countless accusations of fraud. Gubernatorial elections in Tucumán Province back in September descended into chaos after ballot boxes were burned and thousands of citizens took to the streets to protest the inefficiency and general shadiness of the election. Those events led a number of politicians to ban up and begin taking steps to improve the electoral system and endeavor to make it more transparent.