PRO candidate Horacio Rodriguez Larreta defeated ECO’s Martín Lousteau in yesterday’s Buenos Aires City run off and will become the city’s sixth mayor come December. However, despite poll predictions claiming a six- to eight-point difference between the candidates, the final result showed a mere three-point margin (approximately 52% versus approximately 48% — a difference of 54,000 votes). This is an extremely close call for a district with over 2.5 million eligible voters. Or at least it’s closer than what everyone expected.
The election’s surprising result was experienced quite differently in either parties’ headquarters. While a cautious mood reigned over the PRO bunker — which is usually filled with pop music, balloons and awkward dancing — ECO’s was all smiles and rainbows instead.
Over 84,000 people decided to cast white ballots in yesterday’s election. That’s 5.4% of the entire electorate, a figure that could’ve easily tipped the balance. Let’s recall that leftist party leaders Myriam Bregman (representing FIT) and Luis Zamora (representing Self-Determination and Liberty) called on their supporters to vote white, while Victory Front (FpV) former BA City candidate Mariano Recalde had stated his party would not support anyone in yesterday’s run off since both candidate stood for “the same thing with a different wrapper.”
Considering the fact that the capital has historically been a PRO stronghold since party leader Mauricio Macri took office in 2007, this very narrow margin implicates a significant blow to the party and, more specifically, to Macri’s presidential aspirations.
He used his “celebratory” speech to reaffirm his intention to get a hold of the country’s most important office on December 10, but with the difference that, this time, he promised to maintain several FpV policies such as the Universal Child Allowance and state control of Aerolíneas Argentinas and YPF. You can read all about it here.
His unusual rhetoric resulted in an avalanche of statements from PRO detractors condemning his seemingly flip-flopping stance.
FpV presidential hopeful Daniel Scioli stated he was surprised by “the contradictions” in Macri’s speech since his party had “systematically voted against these initiatives” during the last few years.
“I think this makes my candidacy much more solid, since it is the genuine, coherent and original expression of these policies,” he said.
Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández also chimed in, saying Macri had “turned like a sock” with yesterday’s statements. “That didn’t look good to those he wants to win over nor to those he has already won over,” stated the moustache the BA Province gubernatorial hopeful.
“Winning the election by three points is an extremely uncomfortable situation to find oneself in, especially someone who pretended to be the opposition leader in the country,” he added.
“Macri no ha ganado nada,” Fernández concluded, echoing legendary Paraguayan goalkeeper José Luis Chilavert.
Fernández addressing the subject in his daily contact with the press
Even Máximo Kirchner, who rarely speaks in public, took his turn to kick Macri down (with his words, always use your words): “Society has to be aware of this kind of hypocrisy… When I was listening to Macri talk about the Universal Child Allowance and Aerolíneas Argentinas, I thought he was Mariano Recalde.” Oh yes, he did.
Sergio Massa and José Manuel De la Sota also critiziced Macri, but since you probably went “Who?” when you read their names, we won’t go there.
The Macri beating party fest kept going this morning when Martín Lousteau announced he wouldn’t vote for him even if he won the “Cambiemos” alliance primaries, in which he will compete against Civic Coalition leader Elisa “Lilita” Carrió and Radical Ernesto Sanz, both of whom supported ECO in the BA City elections.
This was a bad day for Macri, indeed.