In yesterday’s PASO primary elections, Vamos Juntos pre-candidate in the city of Buenos Aires, Elisa “Lilita” Carrió, triumphed in the Lower House race winning 49,55 percent of the vote, a result so high that even Macri himself couldn’t even reach when running in similar elections.
Her numbers outshone all of the three Kirchnerite candidates from Unidad Porteña combined and the rest of the runners couldn’t even come close to her. With a smile brimming from cheek to cheek, the 60-year old politician gave a heartfelt acceptance speech at the Cambiemos campaign headquarters in Palermo last night. Opening with a joke, she said: “I’m quite surprised, you know I’m used to losing.”
Carrió is a fascinating character. She remains a highly trusted and respected political figure in Argentina despite her antics and controversies. In an annual survey conducted this past July by consultant group Giacobbe & Asociados and published on Cronista, Carrió was voted as the number one most honest person in Argentine politics, according to an analysis of 2,000 Argentines. She beat out current president Mauricio Macri (at 10), Pope Francis (at 14) and even God (at 68). I mean, you have to be pretty good to beat out both God and the Pope in a predominantly Catholic Country.
When running in previous elections, Carrió was indeed never top dog. Back in 2003, when she was a national deputy for the Chaco province, she decided to try a presidential run and lost. She obtained only 16 percent of the vote and, after running (and losing) again in 2007, she even publicly announced her decision to never run again after a hard loss to the Kirchnerite Frente para la Victoria party, which resulted in Cristina Kirchner’s coronation as President of Argentina. But in 2011 she was back at it again. Cristina was reelected with 54 percent of the votes while Carrió came out last with a devastating 2 percent of the votes.
Clearly, she changed her mind and bit by bit over the years she has propelled her career forward as a respectable deputy and a maverick who is now perceived as the most trusted politician in Argentina.
But in reality, it’s been Carrió’s relentless and unapologetically brash/standout behavior over the years that has earned her a badass rep among politicians. She pressed charges against (and even mocked) former Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández of the Kirchner administration back in 2013, (if you need little refresher, check out that time she won the internet by hiding underneath a car and tweeting about it). She never fails to call out anyone and everyone if she thinks they have crossed the line (no matter what the political cost) such as publicly condemning the now former head of the Buenos Aires Province Police Pablo Bressi, the Deputy Head of the Intelligence Agency, Silvia Majdalani, and the now former Argentine ambassador to Paraguay, Eduardo Zuaín.
Carrió is making waves with generations of voters. Among the voting distribution between communes in the city of Buenos Aires, she swept the floor with over 50 percent in Retiro, 60 percent in Palermo, and a whopping 66 percent in Recoleta.
With a strong twitter following of over 700k and her 2015 book “Yo Amo la República”, Carrió’s pending future this October seems to only be heading in all the right directions.
Among many celebratory tweets last night, Carrió included, “The possibility of living in truth, in justice, in law and in peace. We are winning it hard among all.”