December 11, 2013
Gov’t-backed candidate wins in Bariloche
Government-backed Bariloche City Council president María Eugenia Martini was elected yesterday to finish former mayor Omar Goye’s term after he was removed from office in January.
When all the votes were counted, Martini held 31.1 percent of the vote, six percentage points more than Gustavo Gennuso, a former head of the Land and Habitat Municipal Institute (IMTVHS), who resigned earlier this year following riots in the province of Río Negro city and turned out to be the surprise of the election.
Martini was the candidate for the People’s Social Front, a political alliance that included Socialists and the Civic Coalition.
“We won because we took back the state,” Martini said while celebrating her victory at her campaign headquarters.
She received the support of Victory Front (FpV) Senate caucus leader Miguel Ángel Pichetto, who yesterday afternoon travelled to Bariloche to back the now-elected local leader.
Martini, who was already the caretaker governor after Goye was forced out following a series of lootings close to the Christmas holiday, called for a dialogue with all the candidates, vowing to “welcome proposals” that could help improve Bariloche.
Councilman Carlos Valeri — a Frente Grande candidate and former City Council president, who also had support from Kirchnerite forces — came in third with 21.5 percent of the vote.
‘Reading’ the election
Martini highlighted that if votes for Valeri were added, “representatives who answer to the national government made up more than 50 percent of the votes,” which translates into “a strong support from Bariloche for the national and popular political project” led by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Gennuso also celebrated with his supporters — even though he was in second place.
“We were just a little short, but next time it will be ours,” said the leader of the People’s Social Front, before calling his followers to begin working “for 2015.”
Valeri, for his part, recognized defeat, which might be explained by “the (successful) local administration” and “the great election carried out by Gennuso.”
However, he highlighted the fact that Bariloche has left its crisis behind “by pure democratic means.”
The remaining three candidates did not even come close.
Claudio Lueiro, backed by the PRO party led by Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri, got less than 6 percent of the vote, just ahead of Hugo Castañón (leader of the Radical Party-United for Bariloche’s alliance), who got 5.5 percent, and Adolfo Fourés, who headed the municipal SUR party.
A special election
The day began with rain, although weather conditions improved later, and some delays were registered at the beginning of the voting process. Overall, 65 percent of the city’s 83,535 registered voters cast a ballot.
It was the first time parties did not run with their own individual tickets, but with a single ballot that listed the names of all mayoral candidates — a measure that voters easily adapted to, according to Río Negro newspaper.
Another innovation of yesterday’s election was that the electoral roll was divided according to 30 electoral constituencies instead of being in alphabetical order, which allowed voters to cast their ballots at the nearest polling station.