Fifteen minutes before 4 am last night, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner hopped on stage inside the Unidad Ciudadana campaign headquarters and boldly stated: “We have won.” But the truth is she hadn’t. At least not yet.
Yesterday’s primaries were a nail bitter for all of us. The initial euphoria that was perceived at the Cambiemos campaign headquarters in Palermo, Buenos Aires, began to diminish as the 5-point lead that senate candidate in the BA province, Esteban Bullrich, had over Cristina began to shrink. In the end, with almost 96 percent of the votes tallied, the result was too close to call and electoral authorities had to admit that the race un the most important electoral district in the country was a “technical tie.”
This means that despite Bullrich’s 6,000 vote lead, an official recount in on the way and, according to the National Electoral Chamber, it could take up to ten days to finish. Over the next week, ballot boxes from the Buenos Aires province will be collected and votes will be inspected and counted manually to reach the actual number of votes that each candidate obtained.
As of this afternoon, Bullrich obtained 3,046,110 votes in the Buenos Aires province, while Cristina Kirchner obtained 3,039,195 votes.
Now remember, no matter who “wins” this, it literally doesn’t make a single difference because most of the major candidates participating in the PASO primaries were running unopposed. If you want to discuss what’s the point of holding elections that in theory will help each party select their candidates when there’s only one candidate to choose from, you’re not alone. Even journalist Jorge Lanata is calling for the PASO system to be eliminated.
But the truth is that politicians are the ones that benefit the most from these primaries since they work as a mock election that lets them see how people will be voting in the October midterms. A preview of things to come, if you will.
When anyone claims they’ve “won”, unless they were running against an actual opponent within their parties, the truth is they really haven’t won anything.
In fact, Argentines just lost AR $3 billion that could have been put to better use.